Jakarta. The Ministry of Transportation is conducting a feasibility study on a new international airport in northern Bali.
Private developer Bandara Internasional Bali Utara (BIBU) is waiting for the ministry's permit to proceed in the location it has chosen for the project.
"We have inputs from the World Bank, SMI [state-owned infrastructure financing company] and other parties that the airport shouldn't be located in the north. However, the study is not ready yet, so the possibility is still open," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in Jakarta recently.
The ministry said the study takes into account not only the financial aspects of the development, but also the environment and neighborhood. BIBU plans to build the airport offshore to avoid interference with rice fields, temples and villages.
"The study will be complete in two or three months," Budi said.
BIBU is partnering with Airports Kinesis, a Canada-based airport development consulting company, which also helped design Kertajati Airport in West Java.
BIBU operations director Tulus Pranowo said last month that the company is more than ready to develop the airport with an initial investment of $2 billion from the Middle East and Canada. The regional government and legislative council in Bali have already agreed with the plan.
Bali receives around 6 million foreign tourists a year. Most of them visit the southern part of the island, where the only international airport is located.
Ngurah Rai Airport can facilitate only 27 airplanes per hour, and needs to be expanded to accommodate more tourists.
"We're planning to build another runway, to add 10 to 12 airplanes per hour," said Wendo Rose, operations director at state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I.
AP I is also waiting for the ministry's permission to carry out Ngurah Rai's expansion.