Markus Makur , The Jakarta Post , Timika | Wed, 12/03/2008 11:11 AM | The Archipelago
The Mimika administration in Papua started operating an airplane, a landing craft ferry and two fresh water tankers Tuesday to serve residents in the regency.
Acting Mimika regent Athanasius Allo Rafra officiated the launch of the three different transportation modes at Moses Kilangin Airport in Timika.
The launch was attended by Mimika Legislative Council Speaker Yoseph Yopi Kilangin, a number of high-ranking local officials as well as religious and community leaders.
Timika bishop Mgr. John Philip Saklil was there to christen the plane during a brief ceremony. The plan underwent a one-month trial at airstrips in the regency and the central mountains region.
The Transportation Ministry issued an operation license for the plane — the first ever to operate in the regency — in response to the public’s expectations for transportation modes.
The regency administration purchased the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Porter complete with supporting equipment, one-year insurance and spare parts at a sum of Rp 23 billion (US$1.85 million).
The airplane was christened Amor — short for Amungme and Kamoro, the largest tribes in the regency. It will be operated by PT Mimika Air to serve six districts in the mountainous part of the regency, including Agimuga, Jila and Jita districts.
The single turboprop engine Pilatus PC-6 Porter is a versatile general utility aircraft with a short take-off and landing ability, making it suited to the mountainous terrain of Papua.
The aircraft has a capacity of two crew members and six passengers, or a cargo of 1,000 kilograms.
The ferry was christened Mumuika, the old name of Mimika, and has a capacity of 30 passengers and five crew members and 100 tons of cargo.
The ferry is to serve six coastal districts in Mimika, including East Mimika, West Mimika and Tipuka districts.
In his keynote speech, Kilangin said the legislature had approved the plane procurement after a heated debate during budgetary discussions.
Because of significant public support, the legislature finally endorsed the purchase of the plane, he added.
Kilangin said the Mimika regency had made a breakthrough in purchasing the plane as it would open up the isolated regency.
Six airstrips in the mountainous region are ready, he said.
Amungme tribal figure Thomas Wanwang said the procurement of the plane, ferry and water tankers met the public’s expectations.
“I am grateful and happy that the plane and ferry will serve people in mountainous and coastal areas of Mimika,” he said.
Athanasius said the procurements were purely for the sake of the people of Mimika.
“I once told Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu that the provincial administration had already bought six ferries, but they only served people in the northern part of the province,” he said.
“So I took the initiative to purchase the ferry for the sake of coastal communities in Mimika.”
The acting regent ends his tenure as acting regent on Wednesday, handing over his authority to the governor.