Plans to conduct a "soft opening" of the new Lombok International Airport (BIL) in March 2010 are going to be delayed, according the Chief of the Transportation, Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) office for West Nusa Tenggara province, Ahmad Baharudin.
Quoted by the national news agency, Antara, Baharudin said, "I am personally hesitant about the planned soft opening planned for March, if I see the preparations at the project."
He continued, saying the final preparations of the new air field should have been apparent since late February, particularly from PT Angkasa Pura I who are managing the new facility located at the community of Slangit in the Penujak sub-district of Central Lombok.
The preparations of the infrastructure for BIL are nearly complete with expectations that by the end of March 2010 a soft opening will take place commencing a three-month trial period before formal operations of flights can start.
"2 or 3 months more for PT Angkasa Pura I to get everything in order before the operation of the international airport this coming June," explained Baharudin.
Supporting infrastructure elements for the BIL, such as the new by-pass connecting the airport to the rest of Lombok, are still delayed by continuing problems with securing right-of-ways to allow road construction. To hasten the process, the Governor of Nusa Tenggara has formed a technical team to help negotiate the needed land in West and Central Lombok.
The airport project has been allocated Rp. 110 billion (US$ 11.7 million) from the 2008 and 2009 provincial budget of West Nusa Tenggara
The new Lombok International Airport has a main runway of 1,750 meters length and a width of 40 meters. Apron parking areas measure 62,074 square meters with a terminal measuring 12,000 square meters and parking lots covering 17,500 square meters.
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