The Jakarta Post
State air navigation firm AirNav plans to allocate Rp 2.2 trillion (US$163.74 million) for investments next year, including to improve air safety in Papua, following a number of accidents this year.
“We have work to do in Papua, with so many accidents having taken place. In 2017, we will advance navigation facilities there. AirNav will do it,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said earlier this month.
AirNav operation director Wisnu Darjono said air travel was the main mode of transportation in Papua and air communication and navigation were the two utmost crucial factors to improve in the area.
Papua has seen several plane accidents this year, triggering calls for advancement of air navigation and safety facilities.
A Cessna Caravan cargo plane skidded off the runway at the Aminggaru Airport in Puncak regency on Nov. 23, forcing authorities to temporarily close the airport to allow for the removal of the aircraft. It was the third accident at the airport in the past two months.
In June, a small Cessna 208B plane crashed at Yakuhimo in the morning, ripping through several houses in a neighborhood near Nobgoliat Yakuhimo Airport.
Wisnu said next year’s investment amount was similar to this year’s, which so far had been allocated for communications and support tools at Rp 602.1 billion and Rp 682.8 billion, respectively.
He declined to go into detail on the exact amount of investment to be disbursed for Papua, saying that the funds would be used to build towers and facilities in the area, as well as for the required human resources.
AirNav will build an automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADSB), which is surveillance technology to help aircraft determine and broadcast its position through satellite navigation. “Air surveillance service will cover most of Papua,” Wisnu said.
AirNav’s planned investments in Papua aim to support the distribution of goods for Papuans as well.
The Transportation Ministry previously stated its intention to launch the “air highway” next year, a huband-spoke system to reduce price disparity of goods sold in the western and eastern parts of Indonesia.
Goods delivered through the sea under the maritime highway program will then be distributed to towns in Papua by air. The air cargo centers will be located in Timika, Wamena and Dekai.
In addition to Papua, AirNav’s investments next year will also go toward the improvement of facilities at the Jakarta Air Traffic Service Center (JATSC) to back up the government’s plan to take over the monitoring task of Upper Natuna from neighbor Singapore.
Upper Natuna is the area located along the borders of Singapore and Malaysia that goes through the Malacca Strait and partially through the southern part of Kalimantan. At present, flight information region (FIR) in the area is still managed by Singapore. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has announced his administration’s plan to take over the FIR by 2019.
“We have prepare from now,” Wisnu said, even though he added that the plan’s realization would also depend on both countries’ diplomatic efforts.
AirNav has also revealed its plan to provide air navigation services for five airport enclaves starting Jan. 1, with a rising number of civil flights.
The airports are located in Malang in East Java, Ranai in Riau Islands, Morotai in North Maluku, Sabang in Aceh, and Tasikmalaya in West Java.
“Malang is already recording 10 flight movements per day, while Morotai is designed to be a tourist destination,” Wisnu said.
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