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Tourism Expert Criticises Plan to Build Airport in North Bali

North Bali International Airport

The plan to continue the construction of an airport in the North Bali region is facing opposition.

Nyoman Sukma Arida, a tourism expert at Udayana University, expressed her opinion to the local press that adding more airports on Bali Island—particularly, a new airport in North Bali—would be more trouble than it is worth.

“Adding an airport in North Bali will only make North Bali’s fate the same as South Bali. It will only distribute problems, not equalise prosperity,” Arida told the press on Monday, 27th of May.

According to Arida, Bali Island might be too small to host two airports—the other being I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, situated in Kuta, Badung Regency, South Bali. She further suggested that if there had to be construction of a new airport in North Bali, the existing airport should be closed as a result.

Arida continued, “I prefer Bali with one airport because Bali is a small island. If you want to build [an airport] in the north, you should close the one in Tuban, Badung [I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport]. Or build a railroad around Bali and build an LRT that connects several destination points in South Bali.

Ultimately, Arida believed that adding more airports would not necessarily bode well for the prosperity of the island as a whole.

“It’s better to develop sectors outside tourism so that the development in Bali is balanced,” added Arida.

Panji Sakti Erwanto Sad Adiatmoko, the director of PT Bandara Internasional Bali Utara (BIBU), remained undeterred in his company’s plan to continue the construction of an airport in North Bali. He had also lobbied President-elect Prabowo Subianto regarding such plans.

“From eight years ago until now, we have remained consistent that the airport we are preparing is for the best,” Adiatmoko previously told the local press on Sunday, 26th of May.

In previous years, former President of the Republic of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, had criticised the plans to build an airport in North Bali. During his administration, the current President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, later removed the North Bali-based airport from the list of National Strategic Projects (PSN). However, during his presidential campaign, the now president-elect Prabowo Subianto expressed his wish to revive the plan to construct the said airport.

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