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Keeping Expectations Grounded

Final Decision Said to be Imminent on Location of New North Bali Airport

(1/17/2014) While the debate continues of the final location for a proposed second international airport for Bali somewhere along the Island’s north shore, the provincial spokesperson, I Ketut Teneng, said a final decision on the location would be made near the end of January 2014.

Two sites are reportedly in the running located in Sumberkima west of Singaraja or Kubutambahan east of Singaraja.

Teneng said studies comparing the two sites are now before the Ministry of Transportation in Jakarta.

Estimates suggests whichever site is finally chosen, some 650 hectares of land will be needed to create a modern airport. The proposed site in Kubutambahan comprises only 400 hectares, meaning an additional 250-hectare must still be identified by the Buleleng Regency and the Province in order to allow the project to go ahead in that location.

A new site in north Kubutambahan has been identified that would require less displacement of existing households and businesses and an earlier Kubutambahan site. The quality of the proposed land is poor and arid, not suitable for agricultural pursuits. Teneng said these factors should make the acquisition of land for the project less problematic.

Teneng insisted the provincial government of Bali remains committed to creating an airport in North Bali in the regency of Buleleng. At the same time, the provincial spokesperson warned that all involved in developing the project must remain realistic in their expectations.

Ideally, he explained, in one month the new airport should be able to handle 10,000 passengers on an inbound and outbound basis. “Will this target be achieved or not? Don’t let us fail to hit that target and see the government suffer losses,” he said.

Reminding  that Bali is, after all, a small island, Teneng admitted it will be difficult to persuade people to fly into Buleleng when most tourists want to visit the southernmost tourist areas. Because of this, a supporting infrastructure of roads connecting the new airport with the South is also needed.