Estimated to require around 1,200 hectares for its establishment, the planned Buleleng international airport is seen to have the potential of displacing agricultural land in northern Bali.
“The north Bali region, from the eastern part of Kubutambahan district to the western part of Gerokgak district, is located right along the coastline. It will definitely become a hot target for investors,” said principal researcher and cofounder of the School of Democratic Economics (SDE), Hendro Sangkoyo, as quoted by Antara news agency on Saturday.
While on the one hand, the wave of investments would benefit economic development in the region, on the other hand, it would potentially trigger massive land conversion in the region, he said.
“Thus, it is the authority of the administration in the region to control land conversion practices,” said Hendro, saying that local farmers would be the first people affected by the airport development plan. Hendro urged the government to formulate a development policy based on careful observations in the field and by listening to the local villagers’ demands.
Recently, Buleleng regent, Putu Agus Suradnyana, told media that the plan to develop the double-runway Buleleng international airport in Sumberkima village would require some 1,200 hectares of land.
“Unfortunately, the provincial administration only owns 650 hectares of available land. Land acquisition will be a necessity,” said Agus.
The regency is currently formulating a law to regulate the status quo of land for the airport establishment, to prevent illegal land transactions.
The construction of the new airport is forecast to cost around Rp 5.5 trillion (US$547 million).
Recently, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika expressed his optimism that the new airport would be profitable, as it would be able to accommodate larger aircraft than Ngurah Rai. The airport is also in close proximity to many tourist sites, including Batu Ampar, Lovina, the West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island. The provincial administration also plans to build a new toll road connecting Kuta-Soka-Seririt, which will ease access from north to south Bali.
Pastika underlined that Bali was in dire need of a second airport as the existing Ngurah Rai airport could no longer accommodate the increasing number of tourist arrivals.