Volcano Closes Ternate Airport

Last updated: December 6, 2011
Mount Gamala Ternate eruption

Mt Gamalama in North Maluku erupts, causing the closure of Ternate’s Babullah Airport nearby.

Babullah Airport has been closed indefinitely due to the eruption of neighbouring Mt Gamalama.

The airport serves Ternate and neighbouring areas of North Maluku. When operating normally, it receives several flights from Manado (North Sulawesi) and Makassar (South Sulawesi), and less frequently from Jakarta and Ambon (Maluku).

Ternate is a relatively remote and often overlooked part of the Indonesian archipelago, despite the scenery of neighbouring Maitara and Tidore islands being deemed beautiful and note-worthy enough to appear on the Rp1000 banknote.

Rp1000 banknote Maitara Tidore
Click twice for full-size

In centuries past, as well as its volcano, Ternate was famous for its spices, especially its cloves. The area was called the “Spice Islands” for this reason. At various times in history, it was controlled by the Dutch, English or French, who fought the local Sultan as well as each other. But since clove trees were smuggled out of the region and planted elsewhere by the English in the early 1800s, Ternate’s trade and economic value/importance has declined.

Mt Gamalama Ternate Mount Gamala Ternate eruption
Early artists’ views of Ternate

These days, North Maluku province has earned a new reputation for its potential nickel reserves. It is also home to the world’s largest bee.



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