Jakarta. Indonesian private-sector company Bandara Internasional Bali Utara plans to build a new international airport in northern Bali to accommodate growth in foreign tourist arrivals.
The airport will be built offshore to avoid interference with rice fields, temples and villages.
Bali receives around 6 million foreign tourists annually, with most visiting the southern part of the island where the only international airport is located.
Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on several occasions and they have agreed to build a new airport in Bali on a reclaimed island off Buleleng district.
"One advantage of building an airport offshore is that we do not need to waste time on land acquisition, which is often very expensive," Freddy Numberi, a former environment minister and now strategic advisor to Bandara Internasional Bali Utara (BIBU), said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (22/02).
The project is currently awaiting approval by the Ministry of Transportation.
BIBU is partnering with Airports Kinesis, a Canada-based airport development consulting company, which also helped design Kertajati Airport in West Java.
"Bali's northern airport will be funded privately by investors from Canada and the Middle East, involving a total investment of $2 billion," said Shad Serroune, chief technical officer at Airports Kinesis.
Beside opening opportunities for overseas investors, BIBU also hopes to attract local investors who may be interested in the project.
"Basically, we're open to anyone who wants to inject money into this project, even the regional government," BIBU operations director Tulus Pranowo told reporters.
"But at the moment, we're purely a privately owned company," he said, confirming that they plan to build the airport without funding from the state budget.
Responding to a question of when the airport construction project will break ground, Tulus said BIBU was still waiting for the Transportation Ministry to stipulate the exact location before the company will proceed to the next step.
According to the Transportation Ministry, Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport can only accommodate 17 million arrivals per year, while the provincial government hopes to attract 35 million to boost tourism development.