Based on the numerous problems encountered at Bali's airport during the just completed Christmas and New Year period, plans to revamp Ngurah Rai Airport's domestic terminal in 2004 can't come any too soon.
While work on an extensive expansion and modernization upgrade on the airport's international passenger terminal has largely been completed, the domestic passenger facility's ugly sister status was especially noticeable during the heavy travel periods of the holidays just past.
In response to the pre-bombing higher totals of international arrivals over domestic visitors, the Airport Authority has in recent years focused its efforts on a face lift for the international facility. Recent events, however, that have caused domestic traffic to far outpace international arrivals have emphasized the inadequate passenger handling capacity of the current domestic passenger terminal.
During the period January 1-5, 2003, domestic passenger using the airport totaled 25,696 people while international passengers equaled only 18,355. As an emergency step to ease the strain on the domestic terminal, a number of flights from Surabaya and Jakarta were diverted to the international terminal over the New Year's period.
While international arrivals did improve over the holiday period averaging 3,600 per day, that total still fell far below the average daily 5,000 foreign direct arrivals experienced just prior to the October 12th terrorist attack on a Bali nightspot.
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