As reported by Kompas.com, the Minister of Transportation has joined the heated dialogue surrounding the cancellation of plans to build a second international airport in North Bali.
Recent news reports quote the former 5th President of Indonesia and PDI Party Chief Megawati Soekarnoputri, who has strongly endorsed plans to abandon the airport project on the Island’sIsland’s north shore.
Adita Irawati, a spokesperson for the Minister of Transportation, confirmed on Wednesday, 18 January 2023, the proposed airport in North Bali is missing from the current Strategic National Projects (PSN) list. The decision to eliminate a 2nd International Airport in Bali as a Government priority was taken after considering new toll roads and new port facilities and the fact that Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport can still be upgraded to support tourism to accommodate 35 million travelers – three times the current passenger levels,
The Transportation Official suggests that Bali should work to integrate the various elements of its infrastructure rather than spend resources on building a new airport. Adding: “We will focus first on developing the existing Ngurah Rai Airport. Angkasa Pura has confirmed that they can upgrade and increase current capacity.”
Earlier, Kompas.com quoted Ex-President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who openly admitted she rejects plans to construct an airport in the North Bali Kubutambahan District at Buleleng Regency. Megawati expressed concerns that the North Bali Airport could marginalize the local population surrounding the proposed airport site and only serve to profit tourism investors. Continuing to comment, Megawati said: “When the plan was announced to build an airport in Buleleng, my extended family living there said they wanted to build the airport, I was angry. I called Governor Koster. I said it was so easy to say the project was only to benefit tourism. No way.”
Megawati spoke during an inspection visit to the Special Economic Zone now being developed in Sanur, Bali, on Monday, 16 January 2023.
Megawati, possibly seeking to claim the lion’s share of credit for rejecting the North Bali Airport project, said: “President Jokowi heard (me).”
She reported telling the National Cabinet Secretary, Pramono Anung: “In the name of the people of Bali, please help. Don’t just think of yourself! Do you know the Island of Bali is small? The population is small; investors are the only people who want to come (to Bali).”
In the same vein, Megawati claims President Jokowi and several of his ministers tried to persuade her to agree to the airport construction plan. Insisting she is steadfast in her refusal, she added: “I asked Mr. Koster (Governor), Mr. Deputy, Mr. Minister, Jokowi, well, at that time Wishnutama (Former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy) – who all came to my house. I was shocked. All this to persuade me?”
The Former President, insisting she represents the people of Bali, says her rejection of the new airport was not without reason. Megawati repeated that, beyond the fact that Bali is a small island, the Island already has the Ngurah Rai International Airport, which can serve as the Island’sIsland’s domestic and international airport. Alternatively, Mega recommended adding an additional runway to the present airport.
The former President said Juanda Airport in Surabaya and the Banyuwangi Airport in nearby East Java could also be utilized for Bali visitors. Continuing, she said: “Why not just make it into a triangle? I was once President; please help too! It’s Ngurah Rai Bali, Banyuwangi, then Surabaya – three triangles are made.”
Plans for New Airport in NW Bali Opposed