Expanded Bali airport to be at full capacity by 2017

by Wasti Atmodjo on 2012-06-22

The Transportation Ministry predicts that Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport will reach its maximum capacity of 20 million passengers per year by 2017.

The ministry’s director general of air transportation, Herry Bakti, said recently that the ongoing airport expansion project was only able to accommodate a maximum of 20 million people, due to the limited land available.

With an estimated growth in the number of passengers of 12 to 15 percent per year, the capacity of the expanded airport would only be suitable for the next five years, he said.

“The current expansion project could only add capacity to a maximum of 20 million passengers per year. With relatively high growth, it will reach maximum capacity within the next five years. Further expansion by making another runway or adding other facilities will be difficult due to limited land.”

The expansion that is currently taking place has occupied all the land belonging to airport operator PT PAP. Acquiring more land in that area would impose a very high cost. Beach reclamation is not a suitable choice due to environmental concerns.

Statistics showed that the number of passengers using Ngurah Rai Airport last year reached 12.7 million, with 52 percent using domestic flights and 48 percent international flights.

Last year, the airport served 103,771 flights, of which 64,262 were domestic flights and 39,509 international flights. It accommodated 12 domestic routes to 15 cities served by 11 domestic airlines.

It also serves 12 international routes to 12 cities flown by four domestic airlines, as well as 20 international routes to 20 cities in 12 countries served by 19 foreign airlines.

This year, the airport added several new routes, both at home and abroad.

Bakti said the island would need to build another airport with at least two runways if it wanted to have a greater number of arrivals. He said research into a new airport in Buleleng, in the north of the island, had been completed. The research suggested that the new airport could be built in the east part of the regency.

“If the project does take place, the decision should be final before 2017. If it doesn’t, then Bali needs to connect with other airports, such as Lombok International Airport in Lombok or Juanda Airport in Surabaya.”

To build a better public transportation network, he added, Bali could operate a rail network.

“This mass transportation could be operated around the island, connecting one airport to another, without affecting other land transportation routes.”

He said the plan to build an airport in the north of Bali, as well as operating a train, had been incorporated into the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth, along with the ongoing project to build a toll road and underpass.

Commenting on the issue, Ketut Ardana, from the Association of Travel Agents, said stakeholders in Bali should make better plans to find solutions to this problem.

“They should decide whether or not to build a new airport, so there is no polemic.”

Bali has seen a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals this year. As of April, the number had risen by 10.74 percent, to 915,594 tourists, with Ngurah Rai as the main point of entry. This number is already 30 percent of the year’s target of 3 million people.

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