Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has teamed up with Atauro’s tourism association ATKOMA to offer a special Fly/Stay passenger service for visitors to the island. MAF’s light aircraft make the journey from Dili in less than 20 minutes, landing at the Ataúro airstrip located midway between Beloi and Vila.
MAF Country Director Nick Hitchins said the service will provide a fast, reliable air-link to the island, helping to re-invigorate and bring hope to a fledgling local tourism industry devastated by the global impacts of Covid-19. “It is part of our commitment to the development of national capacity, and our commitment to bring help, hope and healing to the isolated people of Timor-Leste,” he explained.
Left to right: Nick Hitchins, Country Director / Line Pilot at MAF handed the official agreement to Osaias Soares, President of ATKOMA ( Photo credit: Maria Da Costa/USAID’s Tourism For All)
USAID’s Tourism For All Project helped the people of Atauro to establish ATKOMA to manage the destination and they encouraged MAF and ATKOMA to work in collaboration to improve transport links and increase visitor arrivals.
Standard ticket prices to Atauro will be $75 each way. The service is expected to commence on April 1st, 2022, subject to Timorese Government approval. Not only will the service provide a quick way for inbound tourists to reach Atauro, but both outward and return journeys can be used by NGO staff and local Timorese wishing to connect with the mainland.
ATAURO Fly/Stay scheduled flights depart Friday evening and Monday morning every week. Flights can also be arranged on an ad-hoc basis through MAF’s Booking Line on WhatsApp +670 7732 7771. Requests for travel will be grouped together and additional flights scheduled each week where possible. Those with an interest in travelling to the island should register for MAF’s ‘last-minute’ group on WhatsApp (simply send your name and number to MAF’s Bookings Line). Weekly flight availability will be posted to the group, as will last minute flights to other Timorese destinations.
Tourists wishing to travel to Atauro can book ‘Fly/Stay Flights’ directly with any accommodation provider or through ATKOMA as part a package, by email to [email protected]. The island has its own website at https://ataurotourism.org/ with information about all of the accommodation providers and tourism attractions on the island.
Flights will be scheduled to meet demand. Passengers should expect the need for some flexibility when registering their booking. Note: MAF Planes may not be available for short time periods due to medical evacuations.
The ATKOMA fly/stay service will operate as follows:
Departs DILI 1630 – Arrive ATAURO 1650
Depart ATAURO 1710 – Arrive DILI 172
Departs DILI 0730 – Arrive ATAURO 0750
Depart ATAURO 0810 – Arrive DILI 0830