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Mokmer Airfield

Frans Kaisiepo Airport
Bandara Frans Kaisiepo
IATA: BIKICAO: WABB
BIK
BIK
Location of airport in Papua
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator PT Angkasa Pura I
Location Biak, Papua
Elevation AMSL 46 ft / 14 m
Coordinates 01°11′24″S 136°06′27″E / 1.19000°S 136.10750°E / -1.19000; 136.10750Coordinates: 01°11′24″S 136°06′27″E / 1.19000°S 136.10750°E / -1.19000; 136.10750

Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 11,715 3,571 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 366.385
Aircraft Movements 13.143
Cargo 1.299.331
Sources: List of the busiest airports in Indonesia


Frans Kaisiepo Airport (Indonesian: Bandara Frans Kaisiepo) (IATA: BIKICAO: WABB) is an airport in Biak, Papua, Indonesia. It is also known as Mokmer Airport.[1] This airport is named after Frans Kaisiepo, the fourth Governor of Papua.

Airlines and destinations

Airline Routes Stop Operation

History

World War II

Mokmer Airfield was part of a complex of airfields built on Biak Island by the Japanese (Mokmer, Borokoe and Sorido), of which Mokmer was the main USAAF facility after the island was taken by the United States after fierce fighting in late May and June 1944.

The Battle of Biak Island came about after a succession of Japanese defeats in 1943 and 1944 along the northern coast of New Guinea. Biak became a Japanese stronghold, which they were determined to hold to the last man. Unknown to the advancing Allies, the Japanese began fortifying the island and when the Allies invaded on 27 May 1944, the Japanese put up a fierce defense. The only tank vs. tank battle in New Guinea occurred on Biak, where Japanese Ha-Go light tanks were knocked out by American Sherman tanks. Japanese soldiers were well entrenched in the interior of the island in limestone caves and fortifications, a trend that would be seen again in islands like Palau. These entrenched troops fought an excellent defense and the casualties at Biak were high - for the American Army, 435 KIA and 2,360 WIA. The Japanese lost an estimated 6,125 KIA, with 460 POWs, and 360 Formosan POWs.

After the battle, the United States repaired the Japanese airfields and developed the island into a large airbase.

Major Allied units stationed on Biak Island

Postwar

Postwar, the airfield complex became a major reclamation site for all types of surplus Allied aircraft.

Mokmer Airfield is located to the west of Mokmer village on Biak, parallel to the coastline and the Japen Straight and is the only one of the three currently used as an airport, now called Frans Kaisiepo International Airport. Mokmer Airfield also became a major refueling point for airline flights from the United States to destinations in Indonesia, prior to non-stop cross Pacific flights. On 16 July 1957, KLM Flight 844 crashed into Cenderawasih Bay shortly after takeoff. 58 out of 68 onboard perished.

Sorido Airfield has been disused since 1962 and is located to the northwest of Mokmer, and is clearly visible on aerial photography. After the war the airfield was used by the Dutch who had kept it as a military airfield, flying P2V Neptunes and later Hawker Hunters from the base until the withdrawal of Dutch forces in 1962.

Borokoe Airfield is due west of Mokmer, along the beach. Not used as an airfield after the American liberation, it became a Fifth Air Force Air Depot area; however, the old runways are evident in aerial photography

See also

References

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • www.pacificwrecks.com

External links

  • (Indonesian) Frans Kaisiepo Airport @ Angkasa Pura II
  • (Indonesian) Frans Kaisiepo Airport @ Directorate General of Civil Aviation
  • NWS
  • Airport information for BIK / WABB at Great Circle Mapper.
  • Aviation Safety Network
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