Wamena (ANTARA) – The Jayawijaya Regency Government of Papua Province has not yet decided whether Wamena Airport will be opened for incoming passenger flights after being closed for 14 days due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the area.
Jayawijaya Regent Jhon Richard Banua in Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya Regency, Saturday, said the airport closure was due to the increase in COVID-19 patients and until now there were still patients being treated, so the airport closure could be extended.
“Maybe we wait for the 12 patients to recover or negative, we will just open them,” he said.
He said the plan to open or continue to close access for incoming passenger flights at Wamena Airport would be discussed again with the Forkopimda.
“We will have a meeting with the muspida whether we still want to add to the airport closing time in the next 14 days or to open it. The results of the meeting will be held later,” he said.
Previously, Wamena Airport had been closed for about two months. The airport then reopened at the end of June to July.
Since the opening of flights, the number of cases recorded every day has increased and the government and the COVID-19 Team have said that on average, new patients enter through Wamena Airport.
At the end of July, the government adopted a policy of closing incoming passenger flights for 14 days from 27 July and ending on 9 August.
Notes from Wikipedia
Wamena Airport (Indonesian: Bandar Udara Wamena) (IATA: WMX, ICAO: WAVV), is an airport serving the town of Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia. The airport also serves the neighboring Lanny Jaya Regency and Tolikara Regency. It is currently the only airport in the highland region of Papua that can accommodate narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and C-130 Hercules. The airport also serves as the entry point to the Baliem Valley, where it is known for the Baliem Valley Cultural Festival (Indonesian: Festival Budaya Lembah Baliem) which is held annually.
Due to being located at a high altitude and surrounded by high mountains, Wamena Airport is dubbed as one of the most dangerous airports in Indonesia. Unpredictable weather in the highlands of Papua has resulted some aircraft accidents, which sometimes resulted in fatalities. Moreover, the presence of the Free Papua Movement guerrilla in the mountains and jungles nearby has posed a serious risk to the safety of passengers in the airport.