Failure to Launch

The authorities, here and in Jakarta, are letting a crucial opportunity to develop this island slip through their fingers, and the usual suspects of ineptitude and overbearing bureaucracy are to blame.

No one can dispute that Bali is in urgent need of a second commercial airport, to take the strain off the current one in the south, to alleviate human build-up in that overcrowded area and to disperse the all-important tourism dollar to famished parts of the north and east.

This second facility has been touted for some time, but instead of coming to fruition it appears to be headed for a full-stop. This is regrettable to the extreme.

Governor I Made Mangku Pastika tells us that after all the talk, it is not known if the touted new airport will be realised. He said that while there had been meetings with potential investors in the costly project, there had been no follow-up and no one appears to be talking, including, worryingly, the Transportation Ministry in Jakarta, which is overseeing affairs.

“We don’t get enough information on the progress or whether progress has been made on this matter. It is also quite difficult to get any information related to this planned airport from the Ministry of Transportation, due to the recent change in the minister’s position,” Pastika said.

The governor even said he is currently unable to get any information from the ministry and it is not known if a location for the airport has been decided.

All sides in this important infrastructure development must now act quickly. Otherwise there is a real risk that it will implode, and investors’ confidence will evaporate along with it. The governor must demand answers from Jakarta, which must respond with real and workable information.

Should this prestige project stall further or, worse, fail altogether, the losers, as usual, will be the Indonesian people, whose leaders are perennially caught up in a vortex of indecision and officialdom that is the country’s continual burden.

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