Bali to Get Second International Airport
After much discussion, Bali is to get a second international airport, with work on the mega-project due to begin next year.
Around 13 million tourists passed through the existing Ngurah Rai International Airport in 2011, drawn by Bali’s year-round sunshine and tropical beaches, and numbers are expected to hit 15 million this year.
If current growth in passenger numbers continues, the airport, which opened in 1969 and is currently being expanded, will hit its 20 million passenger capacity around 2014 or 2015, Miduk Situmorang, spokesman for airport operator Angkasa Pura, said on Thursday.
The proposed new airport would have an annual capacity of 40 million passengers and would be of “world-class standard,” he said, adding that it was being backed by an Indian investor, GVK Power.
“We are anticipating more tourists to come to Bali,” Situmorang said. He declined to say how much the new facility was expected to cost.
He said additional infrastructure, such as toll roads connecting the south and north of the island, would be required by the second airport.
The new airport would be located in the northern coastal district of Buleleng, in a part of the island now covered in rice paddies and farms, but a long way from the popular southern beach resorts in Seminyak and Kuta.
“Buleleng is known for its diving spots and dolphins. It’s largely an undeveloped farming area so we hope an airport will boost tourism there, as southern Bali is becoming too crowded,” Situmorang said.
Situmorang said the company hoped to begin drawing up plans for the airport later this year and to begin construction in the second half of 2013, although it still needed approval from the Transport Ministry and the local government.
It is hoped that with a second international airport, tourism in Bali would be more evenly spread, benefiting the island as a whole and taking the strain off the overcrowded south, where the existing airport is at capacity due to limited space.