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Lombok's New International Airport in a Holding Pattern

Due to Numerous Delays, Now Clear That Soft Opening of New Lombok International Airport Will Not Take Place as Scheduled in March 2010.

Bali News: Lombok International Airport, BIL, Opening, Ahmad Baharudin, Angkasa Pura I, Dishubkominfo, West Nusa Tenggara
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As reported in late February by [See: Delays in Opening of Lombok's New Airport], the government of West Nusa Tenggara has confirmed that the "soft opening" of the new Bandara International Lombok Airport (BIL) will be postponed from its targeted date of March 2010.

Admitting all was not yet ready for the Airport's opening, the Chief of the Transportation, Communication and Information Office (Dishubkominfo) for West Nusa Tenggara, Ahmad Baharudin, confirmed the delay due to operational shortcomings in Mataram, the Capital of Lombok on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. "It is now highly likely the soft opening in March cannot take place because PT Angkasa Pura I is itself not ready," explained Baharudin. PT Angkasa Pura I is the state-owned airport operating authority for the new Lombok Airport.

Baharudin went on to explain that the soft opening of BIL can only be realized in June or July due to failures to complete all preparations on schedule.

PT Angkasa Pura have yet to publicly comment on any delays in the planned soft opening scheduled in March.

The Dishubkominfo official told Antara that he remains optimistic that any remaining technical difficulties preventing the opening of Lombok's new airport will be overcome in the near future.

The construction of supporting infrastructure elements for BIL, such as the by-pass highway connecting the island to the new airport, are being delayed by difficulties in freeing right-of-ways needed to complete the highway. Baharudin said: "What's more, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara has already created a special technical team after a coordination meeting held at the Hotel Grand Legi in Matarman on January 6, 2010, assigned to end the polemic over the access right-of-ways for the highway serving BIL." Baharudin continued, revealing that the technical team is now discussing how best to use available budgets to free the land for the road which passes through the regencies of West Lombok and Central Lombok.

An estimated Rp. 10 billion (US$1.063 million) is needed to acquire the needed right-of-ways in West Lombok, while only Rp. 3 billion (US$319,000) is in hand for the project. An additional Rp. 20 billion (US$2.127 million is needed for the construction of the road in Central Lombok where only Rp. 13 billion (US$1.383 million) has been allocated in that regency's budget to that end.

In order to meet these funding shortfalls, the West Nusa Tenggara government will use part of the State's 2010 Budget for the province.

Thus far, the West Nusa Tenggara provincial government has invested State funds totaling Rp. 110 billion (US$11.7 million) from the 2008 and 2009 budgets.

When 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 are also part of the new Lombok International Airport.

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