Bali administration keen to invest in new airport

Bali Daily/Denpasar

The new airport plan in Sumberkima Village, Gerokgak, Buleleng. (Ni Komang Erviani)

The Bali administration has shown its eagerness to invest in a new airport that is planned for Sumberkima village in Gerokgak, Buleleng regency, north Bali.

Governor Made Mangku Pastika said recently that the administration would invest in the new airport along with several regional administrations in Bali.

“It would be very good if the new airport was developed by local investors rather than foreign ones. We are hoping that a consortium of state-owned companies will also participate in the development of the project,” Pastika said.

The plan to build a second airport on the island was announced several years ago by then tourism minister Jero Wacik, in anticipation of the growing number of tourists to the resort island.

It was also said that the planned airport would gradually overtake the present Ngurah Rai International Airport in terms of passenger traffic, since the latter faces land constraints that prevent the operator from extending its runway.

However, the plan went from being the hottest issue for the island’s tourist industry to an enigmatic proposal following years of bureaucratic uncertainty and a lack of serious investors.

Previously, Indian company GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, as well as TAV Airport Holdings from Turkey had shown an interest in investing in the new airport. However, both companies have yet to turn their words into action.

Recently, the provincial administration committed funds to carry out a comprehensive feasibility study and to prepare for a detailed engineering design.

The funds will be allocated from the revised 2013 provincial budget or from the 2014 annual budget.

Pastika said he would prefer to have a public-private partnership (PPP) system for the construction of the new airport. “That method was successfully implemented in the new Bali toll road,” he said.

The first island toll road, which required total investment of Rp 2.4 trillion (US$241 million), was built under a PPP involving several state-owned enterprises, namely PT Jasa Marga; PT Pelindo III; PT Angkasa Pura I; PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Bali; PT Wijaya Karya; PT Adhi Karya, and PT Hutama Karya. The provincial administration and Badung regency administration also invested in the toll road, which connects Benoa Harbor-Ngurah Rai Airport-Nusa Dua.

The estimated construction costs for the new airport, which will require more than 1,000 hectares of land and two runways, has been set at around Rp 5.5 trillion.

“I am confident that several regional administrations, Badung for example, will be willing to invest in the new airport. I will soon be talking to a consortium of state-owned enterprises,” Pastika said.

The provincial administration’s investment in the airport, he said, would mean prosperity for all Bali residents, as the profits would belong to them.

Pastika was optimistic that the new airport would be profitable, as it would be able to accommodate larger aircraft than Ngurah Rai. It will also be located in close proximity to many tourist sites, including Batu Ampar, Lovina, the West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island.

The provincial administration has also plans to build a new toll road connecting Kuta-Soka-Seririt, which will ease access from north to south Bali.

“There is no reason to doubt the investment potential for the new airport. Many tourists will be coming to Bali through the airport as there are many tourist attractions nearby,” he stressed.

Pastika added that Bali was in real need for a second airport, as the existing Ngurah Rai airport could not accomodate the increasing number of tourist arrivals. “Ngurah Rai airport has become very crowded. Planes often have to queue before landing or taking off. That is why we should have another airport,” he stressed.

Bali, he added, was also host to many international events, which have overwhelmed Ngurah Rai airport. “This October, we will be hosting the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] Summit, for which 21 heads of state and 3,000 CEOs will be arriving on the island. Each of them will be traveling in their own planes and private jets. Even though Bali is a small island, it has huge potential for development,” he added.

Data from PT Angkasa Pura I, which runs Ngurah Rai airport, shows that the number of passengers and flights is continually increasing.

Passenger numbers reached 12,771,874 in 2011, comprising 6,594,830 domestic passengers and 6,177,044 international passengers. That total was double the number of passengers in 2006 and nearly 2 million higher than in 2010.

Flight traffic has also increased up to 284 flights per day. In 2011, the airport recorded a total of 103,771 flights, consisting of 64,262 domestic flights and 39,509 international flights.

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