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Urgent Need to Expand Bali's Airport

Minister Wants End to All Delays in Major Upgrade of Bali's Airport.

(3/2/2010) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, was in Bali on Sunday, February 28, 2010, to officiate at the launching of a book covering the history of Bali aviation. Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport: Gateway to Paradise 1930-2010 which has been published by Angkasa Pura I, the company that manages Bali's only air gateway.

During his remarks at a launch party held at the Kartika Plaza Hotel in South Kuta, Minister Wacik urged that current plans to expand and upgrade Bali's airport not be delayed in order to accommodate the rapidly expanding number of domestic and foreign tourist coming to Bali.

The Minister revealed he was keeping abreast of development at the airport, including efforts to employ a Balinese architectural firm to ensure the facility has a "Balinese style." Quoted in The Jakarta Globe Wacik's now familiar wide ranging comments included pointers on clean bathrooms, the need for less commercial space at the airport, better taxi service and improved immigration service.

On plans to reduce commercial spaces, Wacik admonished, "If you want to shop, just go to Sukawati market, shop directly from the people."

The Minister, who heads a nation-wide campaign for cleaner public toilets, said: "Remember, a survey stated that 70 percent of people who just get off a plane, the first thing they want is the toilet. Do not let people travel all the way from Europe and, once they get into Ngurah Rai Airport, they complain about the dirty toilets."

The director of state airport operations at Angkasa Pura I told the audience that the upgrade of the airport is still awaiting the final approval of Bali's governor and the regent of Badung. Once these are in hand the final plans will then be forwarded to the Minister of Transportation for his agreement before letting the project out for bid.

Expansion plans will dislocate 130 employees now living in an airport housing complex in order to provide space for expanded runway, apron and terminals. The new airport is being designed to accommodate a flow through of 20 million passengers each year, a number roughly twice the present volume.

Angkasa Pura also used the occasion to remind the government of the need to increase the capacity of roads leading into and out of the airport.