Indonesia will have a general election on the 14th of February, 2024; with the final days of campaigning underway, all eyes are on the three presidential candidates before the country goes to the ballot.
The three presidential candidates have been discussing everything from social housing to tourism and economic growth to major infrastructural developments.
Anies Baswedan, Ganjar Pranowo, and Prabowo Subianto are all in the running to become Indonesia’s next president.
While Ganjar Pranowo is currently the favorite to win Bali Province, Prabowo Subianto has been discussing one of the region’s hottest topics: transportation.
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Prabowo Subianto has confirmed that he is seriously reviewing the possibility of putting the North Bali Airport Project back on the to-do list.
The project was formally scrapped by current President Joko Widodo after progress slowed to a complete standstill.
Subianto has revealed why having a second airport in Bali is important, not just for tourism development but also in terms of security and development. He explained, “We must not depend on one facility. If something happens, one airport cannot be used; there must be a backup airport.”
Subianto, who is currently Indonesia’s Minster of Defence, told reporters that he feels an airport can be built in such a way that does not unduly disturb the environment in North Bali.
He said,” The Balinese personality must be preserved; the buildings must all have Balinese characteristics. Don’t go around building large buildings. I really believe in this.”
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The candidate touched on recent complaints from tourists in Bali that the island is no longer as beautiful as it once was and that traffic congestion has become an all too significant issue.
Subianto said, “Now the Balinese figures must gather, don’t think about which party, which organization, which institution, from wherever the great thinkers come together, sit at the same table, think about finding solutions, how to make Bali as beautiful as before, as comfortable as before.”
“How can we not get stuck? Think about it.” he asked the audience.
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The North Bali Airport is a project that has been on and off the cards for years. It’s a project that causes big and mixed feelings amongst Bali lovers.
While some believe that all progress is positive and that a second airport would help funnel more tourism into the northern regencies, others feel that the island is too small for a second international airport and that more tourists, even if more evenly distributed, would quickly result in over-tourism.
It remains to be seen if the North Bali Airport will reappear on the list of Presidential projects, irrespective of who is elected.
Previous attempts have been halted at the land accusation and funding stage. Indonesia is in the process of tendering huge funds for massive transportation projects.
It could well be the case that North Bali Airport is shelved for a little longer as officials in Bali Province double down on getting funding and construction underway on the Bali Railway Network.
The train network is set to consist of a tram and train system across six main lines.
The first line that will be built is the Airport-Seminyak Route that will depart from I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport and connect tourists to key destinations in Seminyak, Central Parking, Renon, and Sanur.
Officials are keen to get the project underway as soon as Bali’s roads are feeling the pressure of increasing tourism numbers.
While a second airport would be of value for the north, it would bring no relief to the more pressing issue of traffic congestion in the south.
A railway network would help resolve many of these issues once up and running. Officials have said they want to see groundbreaking on the project in Q1 of 2024.
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