The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian government has awarded a consortium that manages Singapore’s Changi Airport with a 25-year concession to develop and operate Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
Komodo Airport is located on Flores Island and is considered the gateway to the highly popular Komodo National Park, which is on the neighboring island of Komodo.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi announced on Thursday that the consortium – which includes Indonesia's publicly listed PT Cardig Aero Service (CAS Group) air transportation service company and Changi Airports International (CAI), a subsidiary of Singapore’s Changi Airport Group – had won the public-private partnership (PPP) tender for the Komodo Airport expansion project.
The project has an estimated investment value of Rp 1.2 trillion (US$ 85.82 million).
The government expected the consortium to upgrade the airport by expanding its domestic terminal and developing an international terminal, as well as by extending its runway and apron.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the concession project carried an estimated Rp 5.7 trillion in operational costs over its 25-year period, at the end of which the airport was to be returned to the Indonesian government.
Budi Karya added that the government pinned its hopes on the consortium's expertise in increasing passenger traffic, and expected it to boost passenger traffic at Komodo Airport from 500,000 passengers per year at present to 4 million passengers by 2044.
“International connectivity is important to us. Although we are a big country, the [transportation] hub for Southeast Asia is Singapore. If we cooperate with Singapore, it will indirectly [attract] passengers from there to Labuan Bajo,” he said.
The government has declared Labuan Bajo as a “super priority” tourist destination in its efforts to diversify the country's top destinations beyond Bali. Other super priority destinations include Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Borobudur in Central Java, Likupang in North Sulawesi, and Lake Toba in North Sumatra.
President Joko Widodo plans to upgrade public infrastructure and facilities at super priority destinations by the end of 2020 so they have the capacity to accommodate international tourists.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data shows that Indonesia welcomed 13.62 million foreign tourist arrivals between January and October this year, up 2.85 percent from the same period in 2018.