Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara. (JG Photo/Dion Bisara)

Changi Operator One Step Closer to Managing Komodo Airport

BY :THRESA SANDRA DESFIKA

OCTOBER 05, 2019

Jakarta. Jakarta-listed airport service firm Cardig Aero Services and Changi Airport International, the operator of the world's best airport, Singapore's Changi Airport, has moved a step closer to become the operator of Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara. 

The Transportation Ministry announced on Friday that the Cardig consortium, which includes Changi's subsidiary Changi Airports Mena, was the only bidder who passed the first stage of the bidding process for the development and operation of Komodo Airport, beating four other bidders.  

Arief Mustofa, the head of the airport cooperation and development division at the ministry, said the government has welcomed Cardig and Changi and is looking forward to discuss details of the project with the consortium. 

"The second stage of the bidding process will involve an 'optimization dialogue.' We hope by the end of this year we can announce the definitive winner," Arief said in Jakarta on Friday.

After the announcement, the ministry will give the consortium around 9 to 12 months to get funding for the project and start developing the airport. 

Komodo Airport is the gateway to Komodo National Park, the home of the world-famous Cretaceous-era komodo dragons. 

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has set the national park and the nearby town of Labuan Bajo as one of ten designated tourist destinations the government wants to develop into the "Ten New Balis."

Currently, the nearest international airport to the national park is in Bali, condemning tourists to time-consuming transit flights to reach the park. 

The government plans to expand the Komodo Airport, allowing it to accept wide-body jets and turning it into an international airport. 

Arif said the government will offer a public-private partnership scheme for the project, in which the winning consortium will be granted a 25-year concession to develop and manage the airport. 

"The government will collect concession fees every year. But the main benefit of the scheme will be the money saved from the state budget since we no longer have to pay for operational costs and capital expenditure for the duration of the scheme," Arief said.

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