Aviation

Bali to get new airport for low-cost carriers

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Indonesian authorities have announced Bali is getting a second international airport aimed at low-cost carriers.

The announcement came from Bali governor, I Wayan Koster, during a speech at the Arts Centre in Denpasar.

“We reviewed the location to be used for the construction of the new Bali airport in Kubutambahan using 370 hectares of land belonging to the Kubutambahan customary village plus 50 hectares from the traditional Sani village,” said Koster, according to Gapura Bali.

The government is building the airport with hopes to relieve pressure on Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar which is struggling to keep up with the influx of tourists.

It also hopes to distribute tourism to the north, not just hotspots such as Seminyak and Kuta.

Indonesian transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi told 9News the new airport, which is to be built in the northern village of Kubutambahan, would take all the low-cost carriers, while Ngurah Rai in the south would take the “normal” ones.

As a result, Ngurah Rai will undergo upgrades and be made exclusive to full-service airlines.

The new airport is set to take about 70 per cent of flights from Australia, operated by Jetstar, Air Asia and Lion Air.

A Jetstar spokesperson told Travel Weekly the airline’s customers love the convenience Ngurah Rai provides to hotels, beaches and restaurants.

“But we are open to understanding more about the Indonesian Government’s second airport proposal,” the spokesperson said.

Infrastructure has already begun to make way for the airport, with road upgrades cutting travel time between the northern city of Singaraja, which is just half an hour from Kubutambahan, and Denpasar. But tourism advocates warn the upgrades will make little difference when you take into account traffic from tourists flocking from the north to the south.

“Something like 95 per cent of all arrivals will want to travel south,” Ross Taylor from the Perth-based Indonesia Institute told 9News.

The new airport is expected to be operational from 2022.

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