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The World's Most Beautiful Islands Set to Have International Airport
TRAVEL AND TOURISM Indonesia

The World's Most Beautiful Islands Set to Have International Airport

The sparsely populated Raja Ampat Islands comprise around 1500-odds islands  and islets scattered off the northwest tip of Indonesian Papua. Raja Ampat has sublime scenery of steep, jungle-covered islands, scorching white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, weird mushroom-shaped islets and pellucid luminous turquoise waters.

No wonders Lonely Planet and Condé Nast Traveller crown Raja Ampat as one of the most beautiful island chains in the world.

Today, the nearest major airport to the Raja Ampat islands is in the mainland city of Sorong. There are flights here from the likes of Jakarta, Pulau Ambon (Maluku), Jayapura (Papua), Manado and Makassar (Sulawesi).The good news is Indonesia's Transportation Ministry has approved plans for the Marinda Airport in Raja Ampat to become an international airport.

If you think the Raja Ampat islands are beautiful above the waterline, just wait until you get below it. Image: ilish / Getty Images
If you think the Raja Ampat islands are beautiful above the waterline, just wait until you get below it. Image: ilish / Getty Images

The Jakarta Post reported that approval came after West Papua governor met with Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi two weeks ago to propose a runway extension. The plan was first initiated in 2015.

Raja Ampat Regent Abdul Faris Umlati has been wanting to extend the runway from 1,200 meters to 2,500 meters that will allow larger planes to land at Marinda.The airport itself was officiated by the former Transportation Minister E.E. Mangindaan on May 9, 2012. The airport currently has a 1,200m x 30m runway, one 80m x 60m airport apron and one terminal with a total area of 120 meters.

Where Raja Ampat is located. Image: aggressor
Where Raja Ampat is located. Image: aggressor

The Marinda airport operates from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., serving Susi Air and Wings Air airlines. As the first airline to fly to Raja Ampat, Susi Air uses a Cessna Grand Caravan. Susi Air used to only fly once a week but it currently offers several flights to Raja Ampat.

Meanwhile Wings Air has been serving the Raja Ampat route since January 2017. Using an ATR 72-600, the service travels to Manado – Raja Ampat – Sorong – Monokwari once per day.

Susi Air Grand Caravan. Image: SusiAir
Susi Air Cessna Grand Caravan. Image: SusiAir

Beginning Oct. 21, Sriwijaya Air and NAM Air are going to open new routes to Raja Ampat from Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Semarang and Makassar.

Other than air travel, tourists can also travel by sea to Raja Ampat, departing from Sorong and using a speed boat, which takes around two hours.

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