The Ministry of Transportation (Menhub) seems far from gung ho about building an airport in North Bali, but conclusions about the airport being flat out “cancelled” are premature, Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Monday.
A study from the World Bank and state-owned infrastructure financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) has recommended that the development of the airport not go through and that resources instead be used to improve South Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, but Sumadi says a final decision has not yet been made.
“We are reviewing (the study). It is not final, but there are suggestions to concentrate on South Bali. It’s not final,” Karya said on Monday, as quoted by Detik.
While Sumadi apparently declined to go too deeply into the study, he did say it’s been evaluating economic, social, and environmental impacts.
The Coordinating Minister for the Ministry of Marine Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan had previously stated on Friday that the construction of the North Bali Airport was cancelled.
The airport, a project estimated to cost IDR27 trillion (US$1.9 billion) would be built in Bali’s quiet regency of Buleleng, where relatively few tourists travel to. The regency is about 90 kilometers north of busy tourist hub Kuta.
Bali’s current governor Made Mangku Pastika has been a huge proponent of the airport, insisting it will usher in even more tourists and will spread the development out to the island’s rural north as a tourism destination of its own.
There has been talk of an airport up on Bali’s lesser-developed north end for years, but little action. This is partly because of the challenge of land acquisition, an obstacle that the project hopes to sidestep by instead reclaiming land to build an artificial island.