U-Turn of the Indonesian Government in Bali Airport Development

Bali, Indonesia, airport, infrastructure

After favouring the expansion of the current Denpasar Airport, the Indonesian government is now looking -again- at building a brand new airport in Northern Bali…

The Jakarta Post reported that the government is looking again at constructing a greenfield airport in Northern Bali to relieve congestion at the current airport in Ngurah Rai, near Denpasar.Bali airport welcomed last year 22.86 million passengers, a number up by 24% over 2016. Bali International Airport is close to reach its saturation point as the current terminals can accommodate only 24 million passengers.

After considering for a while the construction of a new airport, the government announced last year to favour the expansion of the current Ngurah Rai airport. However, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan told finally to local media last Monday that the government would give the go-ahead to develop a new airport in northern Bali .

According to the Minister, building a new airport rather than expanding the current air facilities would finally be less costly due to the high price of land in Denpasar, according to a report of the Jakarta Post.

Nearly 27 trillion rupiah (US$1.96 billion) would be needed to develop a second runway in Denpasar but the projected increase in annual passenger capacity would only be 10 million, Jakarta Post reported Luhut as saying.

However, developing a new airport in the north would cost 6.3 trillion rupiah, he said. Buleleng airport would be built on a reclaimed area of 1,400 hectares.

A 75km toll road would then help connecting north and south Bali thanks to remaining funds. The airport in Northern Bali has already the support of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Bali regional government is also in favour of the Northern facility as it would help developing the economy in the impoverished north of the island.

Luhut Pandjaitan had previously announced that the government had cancelled its plan to build a new airport in the northern part of Bali island, following the results of a World Bank and PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur study. The report pointed out the impossibility of connecting Ngurah Rai Airport to the future Northern air facility with a railway.