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North Bali Airport

North Bali Airport

Offshore airport in northern Bali not urgent: Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan

The central government will not prioritize the development of an offshore airport in northern Bali as proposed by the local government, saying that such a project was not urgent, according to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

north bali airport

He stressed, however, that the central government was prepared to develop a second runway at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in the southern part of the resort island and not a new North Bali airport

“We prefer to empower the existing I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport,” Budi said in Jakarta on Sunday as reported by kompas.com.

Previously, he said that the ministry was carrying out a study on the proposal made by the Bali administration through PT Pandara International Bali Utara (BIBU) Panji Sakti, which has received support from a Canadian investor. BIBU president director I Made Mangku said the company preferred to develop an offshore airport because the initial plan of an onshore airport would have sacrificed 33 Hindu temples, 121 historical sites, roads, residences and productive rice fields. Made further explained that Bali Governor Mangku Pastika had prohibited the use of productive land, Hindu temples or historical sites for the development of a new North Bali airport.

North Bali Airport 

Bali’s Second Airport in North Bali Fails to Get Central Government Approval

While official notification has yet to arrive in Bali, various press source quote the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, saying that based on reviews conducted by the World Bank and PT Sarana Multi Infrastructure the Government has decided not to give the final location approval to build aNorth Bali Airport in Kubutambahan, Northeast Bali.

Bali’s Governor told Bali Post and NusaBali on Saturday, March 3, 2018, that he had yet to receive a formal notification of revocation of plans to build the new airport, but admitted that if news reports proved true, the project dependent on Central Government funding could simply not go ahead.

Pastika said he intends to seek a direct clarification from Minister Luhut. It (the airport in North Bali) is our dream and included in Regional Regulation No 16 of 2009 on RTRWP (zoning and planning). This means there’s clearly a legal basis and that the airport is the desire of all the Balinese.”

Saying Bali would suffer if the new airport in the Island’s north does not go ahead, Pastika said steps were underway to find private finance to build the airport and feasibility studies had been undertaken to prove the project’s viability. The Governor said the only remaining obstacle was to decide if the airport would be built on land or on a manmade offshore island. With private investors poised to go ahead, Pastika said in seeming self-contradiction that there would be no need for Government funding.

Meanwhile Bali legislators are pledging to fight for final approval of the Airport of the North, saying the additional airport is essential to the Island’s development and a more equitable distribution of the benefits of new development now overly concentrated in the Island’s south.

Commenting separately, the President Director of the Company charged with developing the new airport – PT Bandara International Bali Utara (BIBU), Panji Sakti I Made Mangku said the rejection was laden with political nuances. Panji said there had been no official comment on the airport since a religious ceremony at the airport’s location was held in July of 2017 and the revocation only surfaced recently after it was announced investore were in place prepared to commit Rp. 27 trillion to the airport’s realization. Adding: “Why, after more than 9 months, is there a rejection – it is as though someone is panicking? Those of us who purely want to develop the Regency of Buleleng are now being encumbered by all kinds of reasons.”

Panji said one reason given for the revocation of the plans to build the airport is that plans to widen the runway at the existing Ngurah Rai International Airport will increase the congestion of Bali’s airspace to the Island’s south. The BIBU President Director countered saying, in fact, that a new airport in Bali’s north would reduce air traffic congestion in the South.

PT BIBU’s chief executive said he was now meeting with parties on the national and regional level to plan the next step to realize the new airport. Insisting the revocation was still “only a rumor” and he would prefer not to comment on unconfirmed news, Panji said he would nonetheless meet colleagues in Jakarta to discuss next steps.

As reported in the National Press, Luhut cited four reasons for the revocation of plans to build a new airport. First, the difficulty of creating a rail link to the areas selected for the airport. Second, the Government is prioritizing the development of Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport, including the creation of a second runway. Third, the Government is increasing tarmac space at Bali’s airport to allow additional aircraft parking. And, fourth, the Government plans to build ports for RoRo vessels operating from the Port of Banyuwangi in East Java traveling to the North that planners hope will reduce the number of cars visiting Bali from Java by 30-40%.

The Canadian Company Kinesis Capitlal has undertaken a feasibility study in support of the new airport that has been delivered to Luhut who apparently has decided to embrace other studies that did not support the planned airport.