It was not that long ago that you could only reach the Mentawais by enduring a rickety overnight ferry from Padang.
When they introduced the now very well-established Mentawai Fast Ferry that operates 7 days a week to different parts of the Mentawai islands, it quickly became a very popular travel route and opened up the islands to the world of tourism.
While private charter flights to Mentawai have been available for a while, the costs of it make it unviable for most travelers. So air travel to the islands has kind of been reserved for the wealthy.
But times are changing.
They have recently finished a major part of the airport expansion in Mentawai, which will pave the way for up to 53,881 passengers each year to arrive by air to the islands in the near future.
While the New Mentawai Airport which will replace Sipora Rokot Airport, is still technically under construction, they have recently completed the extension of the runway to 1500 metres which will allow passenger jets to land, massively expanding the capability for airlines to run regular flights to the Mentawais. Susi Air has introduced a new schedule between Padang and Rokot, scheduled twice per week (Padang – Rokot – Padang), making flying to Mentawai immediately more accessible. You can read more about that Susi Air flight here:
According to CAPA Centre for Aviation, “a $38.4 million renovation is revamping SRA into the New Mentawai Airport which can accommodate an annual capacity of 53,881.” and “It will aim to boost inter-regional connectivity around the Mentawai Islands and is expected to enhance the tourism sector in the islands.”
This will allow the likes of Wings Air to fly their ATR turboprop aircraft to Mentawai, opening up a whole new world of cheaper and accessible flights from all Jakarta, Bali, Medan and maybe even Kuala Lumpur directly.
As of the last major update, November 2023, West Sumatra’s Province Transportation Service is still in the process of getting airlines like Wings Air, Citilink and Pelita Air Service to make a regular route to New Mentawai Airport, and plan to encourage this with Mentawai Islands Regency Government subsidy program.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) spoke at the inauguration of the New Mentawai Airport “Let us hope that by providing a landing ground for ATR planes, the airport will attract more tourists to come visit Mentawai Islands, especially those who love surfing,”.
The head of state remarked “ We hope that surfing tourism activities will flourish. Planes from abroad related to surfing activities can also directly land, be it in Padang or Mentawai”
Certainly going to make the lineups a bit busier. But it’s Mentawai, there are plenty of waves to go around.
We will keep you up to date with all the latest.