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Lombok Airport to Open One Year Behind Schedule

Plagued by Poor Planning, Budget Problems and Protests - Lombok's New International Airport to 'Maybe' Open One Year Behind Schedule.

(1/3/2011) Coordinated project development is apparently a concept beyond the comprehension of regional administrators on Bali's near neighbor island of Lombok.

After investing more than US$11 million in building the new Lombok airport, original plans to open the facility in March 2010 were postponed due to unfinished infrastructure-related elements, not the least of which include acquiring the land to build a highway access to the airport.

Now officials are suggesting the Lombok Airport "might" open in March 2011, a full year behind schedule. Jakarta Globe reports that protests by villagers living near the new airport demanding compensation for their land and jobs from the new air gateway are casting yet another cloud over the airport's eventual opening date.

State auditors have identified a shortfall of between US$8 - US$12 million still needed to make the airport fully functional. If those funds are allocated in 2011 government budgets, the earliest date the new airport may be able to open for business is mid-2011. This date, however, may also be overly optimistic as it may not contemplate the extensive testing and certification process that must be completed before international air carriers will be allowed to land.

The results of such poor planning and development coordination becomes all the more evident against the potentially embarrassing plans of Indonesia's President to inaugurate the airport in March 2011 and a concomitant target of 1 million foreign visitors for Lombok in 2012. Both the official opening date for the airport and the ambitious tourism target now appear very much in doubt.

In the mad scramble to complete the long-delayed airport, the Jakarta Globe also reports that established tender protocols will be ignored as Angkasa Pura, the airport managers, adopt a no-holds-barred approach to completing the airport.

When the airport is eventually opened, the new Lombok Airport will have a runway measuring 1,750 meters long and 40 meters wide, supported by an apron measuring 62,074 square meters. A terminal building of 12,000 square meters and a parking area of 17.500 square meters.

The length of the runway for what should be a modern state-of-the-art airport also calls into question the judgment of the project's planners. At 1,750 meters long, the Lombok runway will mirrors Bali much-criticized Ngurah Rai Airport which is deemed too short to handle fully-loaded and fully-fueled wide body long-haul international flights.

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[Lombok's New International Airport in a Holding Pattern]

[Delays in Opening of Lombok's New Airport]