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North Bali Airport in a Holding Pattern?

Transportation Ministry Say Only One Airport will Be Allowed to Operate in Buleleng, North Bali. Will Let. Kol. Wisnu Airfield be Closed?

(9/17/2011) While Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, xontends that an airport in North Bali is a virtual certainty [See: Run, Run, Run . . . Runway]  Beritabali.com reports that plans by the Buleleng Regency in North Bali to develop and expand the Letkol Wisnu Airfield in the village of Sumberkima for short-haul domestic flights is drawing a "blank stare" from Bali’s Department of Transportation who say they have no formal knowledge of such plans.

Made Santha, the Head of the Transportation, Information and Communication Department for Bali, said: “I don’t yet know (about the airport expansion plan). There’s no permission that’s been granted by the central transportation department. Everything needs a permit first.”

He added that in the end there would only be one airport in Bali’s north, either for domestic or international flights. “There can only be one airport in Buleleng, and there’s also a maximum of two airports for all of Bali. We must consider the interconnection between the two (airports),” said Santha.

Previously the regent of Buleleng, Putu Bagiada, said the development of the existing Letkol Wisnu Airfield as a domestic airport would take place with the extension of the current runway, now being undertaken in phases. The current runway is now 900 meters long, an increase from its previous length of 700 meters.

Plans are for the Lt. Kol. Wisnu Airport of north Bali to handle flights between Surabaya and Buleleng and Buleleng and Lombok. The regency’s plan is to commence these domestic services by 2012.

Pending results of a survey now being conducted by candidate investor in a new North Bali airport, is remains unclear if the new facility would merely absord the current Lt. Kol. Wisnu Airfield or be a new and totally separate facility.