Bali

Ngurah Rai airport kicks
off massive expansion project

The first construction stage of the massive expansion of Ngurah Rai international airport will commence on Sept. 1. The expansion project will enable the airport to accommodate up to 25 million passengers per year, twice its current capacity, by 2013, a senior official stated.

“The first stage will involve the construction of new access roads and temporary parking areas,” Angkasa Pura I general manager, Purwanto, said on Friday.

Angkasa Pura is the state-owned company tasked with managing Ngurah Rai, the main entry point for millions of foreign and domestic visitors to the resort island.

“Throughout the construction period, we will close Ngurah Rai Airport Street to the public, with only passengers being allowed to use it,” he said.

The airport authority will close other streets near the airport, including Kemayoran and Dewi Sartika, which generally offer the shortest routes from the airport to Kuta.

“We have informed all the relevant agencies about the [road] closures and public transportation will be diverted along several alternative roads, including Tuban and Kediri streets,” he added.

The closures will worsen the already severe traffic congestion along the Ngurah Rai-Nusa Dua bypass.

The Rp 2 trillion expansion project will result in the airport having a new, larger international terminal, ramps and aprons, as well as parking facilities for both passengers and public.

“The new international terminal will be twice the size of the current terminal and it will lie on the site the present domestic terminal,” Purwanto said.

To accommodate the expansion project, the airport authority has relocated three schools near the airport.

The project will also add several facilities to the airport, including 35 “Visa on Arrival” counters, an increase from the existing seven, and 20 additional immigration counters, up from the present 12.

These are expected to improve the airport’s service and reduce passengers’ regular complaints about the visa and immigration process.

Ngurah Rai will also be the first airport in Indonesia equipped with a state-of-the-art security and baggage handling system.

“The system is more safe and efficient; it is the same system as the one used at Singapore’s Changi airport and several airports in Australia,” Purwanto said.

The expansion project is expected to be completed by early 2013, so the airport will be ready to receive scores of heads of states who will be arriving for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November.

“When the APEC delegates arrive, they will set their feet in a new airport with a new security system,” he said.

During the last five years, the number of passengers at Ngurah Rai has steadily increased by an average of 12 percent each year, amounting to 11.5 million passengers in 2010.

This has been matched by an increase in aircraft traffic by an average of six percent each year, or 85,000 aircraft in 2010.

Ngurah Rai was built in 1930 by the Dutch colonial government. It had a 700-meter-long runway and was called Tuban airport. The Japan occupational authority extended the runway to 1,200 meters in 1942.

The Indonesian government expanded the airport through a sea reclamation project, and extended the runway to 2,700 meters. Six years later, former president Soeharto renamed the airport, Ngurah Rai in 1963.

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