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North Bali Airport Project is Up in the Air

More Questions than Answers: Plans By Turkish Investor to Build International Airport in North Bali.

(10/11/2010) Bisnis Bali reports that plans to build an international airport in the Gerokgak district of north Bali remain very much in flux. This state of confusion follows intensive lobbying of a candidate Turkish investors by the Regent of Buleleng, Putu Bagiada, and other north Bali officials. Statements from regency officials following contact with the Turkish investor confirmed the willingness to go ahead with the international airport project.

Locals living in Gerokgak are said to be growing increasingly impatient with the stalled project and are seeking a firm commitment from Buleleng officials that the airport constriction will go ahead.

Adding to the confusion, are earlier announced plans for the Turkish investor to visit the proposed site for the airport which have not come to fruition.

The chief of the region's planning body (Bappeda), Gede Dharmaja, has confirmed that the international airport plan for north Bali has received bilateral endorsement from the governments of Indonesia and Turkey. Moreover, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has designated the location for the facility at Gerokgak in the Buleleng regency.

Said Dharmaja: "This is the agreement between two countries and as a result the central government has designated that the location will be in Gerokgak and not in another region. Previously many regencies requested this project but the selection has been made by the President."

He said the investor will visit Buleleng following a visit by the Regent, Putu Bagiada, to Turkey. That visit, however, was postponed because of the busy schedule of the investor and a conflict with the Islamic fasting month. Dharmaja explained: "We have not received a firm date, but the investor will certainly visit Buleleng. We just need to wait."

Separately Dharmaja said the proposed international airport would be located at the villages of Pemuteran and Sumberkima. Adjoining villages will be involved in building access roads. "The present runway at Sumerkima will be incorporated into the new airport, possibly forming a part of the new airport," Dharmaja said.

The land required for the project is said to be in hand. The regency has set aside 700 hectares of the needed 1,000 hectares. The lands for the project has come from government-owned land formerly held by PT Margarana. The remaining 300 hectares will be acquired from private landowners.