New air service to Irian Jaya

A REGULAR Qantas Airlink passenger charter service from Darwin to Timika in Irian Jaya, Indonesia has recently been introduced.

Darwin-based Northern Gateway, in conjunction with PT Freeport Indonesia and Qantas Airlink, are offering the 110 minute flight.

Northern Gateway managing director Penny Tastula said the service would operate fortnightly on Friday evenings and returning early Sunday mornings during June and July.

“With the interest building as the word spreads, we will be operating a weekly service from August onwards,” Ms Tastula said.

“The Bae146 aircraft is ideal, with a capacity of 68 passengers accommodated in business and economy seats as well as some opportunity for cargo. The schedule offers same day connections to and from all states in Australia.”

The service has been well received by mining supply companies and contractors around Australia.

Previously, PT Freeport Indonesia’s copper-gold operation in Irian Jaya could only be reached by long, inconvenient flight connections through Jakarta or Bali.

Australia is a major supply base for a wide variety of contract services as well as a large range of equipment for both mining and support industries. The new direct charter service linking Darwin to Timika opens up potential for further business growth.

Ms Tastula said Darwin is an ideal gateway to Indonesia, being both close in proximity and hosting an Indonesian Consulate office for convenient issuing of visas.

“Being a charter flight, a business visa is a necessity to allow access on the flight to Irian Jaya,” Ms Tastula said.

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