The discussion around whether Bali needs a second commercial airport has been on the table for years.
While President Joko Widodo had committed to building a second international airport on the island during this term in office, last year the project was deprioritized due to lack of progress.
But now, leaders in Bali are looking at alternative ways of building flight capacity.
It has now been confirmed by the Bali Provincial Government and the Buleleng Regency Government that the runway at Letkol Wisnu Airport in Sumberkima Village, Gerokgak District, Buleleng will be extended by 300m.
The airport is currently used as a military airport and occasionally accommodates small private charter flights.
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Once the runway extension is complete, the airport will have the capacity to function as a commercial airport.
The Acting Regent of Buleleng, Ketut Lihadnyana, told reporters of the construction plans. He revealed the runway will “be extended, it can become a kind of field that can land planes with a passenger capacity of 30-40 people.”
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Discussions are underway regarding the acquisition of the land required to complete the runway extension.
The Lt Wisnu Airport spans over 15 hectares of land, 13 hectares of which belong to the provincial government, and the remaining 2 hectares belong to the Buleleng Regency.
Lihadnyana said “Later, the provincial government will regulate the pattern of cooperation. However, management should be carried out in a tripartite pattern, between the Buleleng Regency Government, the Bali Provincial Government, and third parties.”
“The important thing in managing assets is not to violate the rules.”
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There are hopes that by increasing the capacity of Lt Wisnu Airport, the site can become at the very least a commercial domestic airport.
This, many tourism stakeholders feel, will help encourage more tourism in the north of the island. There are already huge efforts underway to promote Buleleng Regency as a tourism destination for both international and domestic travelers.
Leaders have not yet shared where domestic flights from Lt Wisnu Airport would travel to. It is likely that commercial flights to destinations close by like Lombok, Banyuwangi, or Trunojoyo would be the top priority.
Although the North Bali Airport was deprioritized by the central government last year, leaders in Bali were clear that there is still a need for a second airport on the island.
With tourism only growing in Bali, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International can currently cope with the growing volume, but for how long?
Tourism leaders in Indonesia have long been talking about the need to promote destinations other than Bali to international tourists.
Destinations like Lake Toba in Sumatra, Labuan Bajo the gateway to Komodo National Park, and the Sumba Islands have all grown in popularity over the last few years, but Bali will remain the mainstay of Indonesia’s tourism offering for a long time to come.
With this in mind, infrastructure developments are essential in order to ensure that tourists have an easy and enjoyable trip to Bali. A second airport will certainly help travelers access the wonders of the north of the island with greater ease.
Tourist destinations like Lovina Beach, Munduk, and Sumberkima would all be more easily accessible for tourists if there were an airport in Buleleng.
The forested hills of Munduk are soaring in popularity with tourists right now. Thanks to social media many of the ’hidden’ waterfalls of the area are now much easier for tourists to find.
Waterfalls like Red Coral Waterfall, Golden Valley Waterfall, and Air Terjun Munduk are not to be missed! The jungles in Munduk are home to some incredible eco-stays and resorts.
Gumi Ayu Ecohotel, Taman Ayu Homestay, and Alam Rita Glamping and Plantation all get rave reviews from tourists.
Lovina Beach is the leading tourist resort in North Bali. The coastal retreat is loved by many annual holidaymakers to Bali who make the 4-hour drive to the northern coast in order to dodge the busy and bustling resorts of the south.
The sleepy coastline around Lovina Beach is referred to by many Bali lovers as a vision of what Bali was like before the tourism boom in the south.
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