Frans Kaisiepo Airport

Frans Kaisiepo Airport
Frans Kaisiepo Airport
Bandara Frans Kaisiepo
IATA: BIKICAO: WABB
BIK is located in Papua
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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′29″E / 1.19°S 136.10806°E / -1.19; 136.10806
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 11,715 3,571 Asphalt
Source: World Aero Data[1]
Frans Kaisiepo Airport of Biak
Mokmer Airport in 1961

Frans Kaisiepo Airport (Indonesian: Bandara Frans Kaisiepo) (IATA: BIKICAO: WABB) is an airport in Biak, Papua, Indonesia. It is also known as Mokmer Airport.[2] This airport is named after Frans Kaisiepo, the fourth Governor of Papua.

Contents

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
Garuda Indonesia Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta, Jayapura, Makassar
Merpati Nusantara Airlines Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta, Jayapura, Makassar
Susi Air Manokwari, Nabire, Serui[3]

History

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. 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.

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 from the base, and later Hawker Hunters until Indonesian Independence.

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

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

Major Allied units stationed on Biak Island

  • 6th Reconnaissance Group (August-3 November 1944)
  • 71st Reconnaissance Group (8 August-5 November 1944)
  • 91st Reconnaissance Wing (10 August-12 November 1944)

See also

  • USAAF in the Southwest Pacific

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links



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