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The development of the airport in Buleleng is being fast tracked. The groundbreaking of North Bali International Airport is scheduled for 28-29 August 2017, at Kubutambahan District, Buleleng, with a ceremony also at the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort. The President and around 50 government representatives are expected to attend the ceremony.

“President Joko Widodo plans to attend the groundbreaking,” said Dr. Made Mangku, President Director of PT Bandara Internasional Bali Utara (BIBU), to reporters on Sunday. “As well as several government representatives, from consultants to investors.”

According to Bali Post, Mangku revealed that his company has approached Airport Kinesis Canada (AKC) to invest in the megaproject, and around $3 billion USD is expected to come from the AKC Group. “Do not worry about funding—we already have it 100 percent from investors,” Mangku added. “The Canadian Government will invest up to three billion, and the project will be completed in eight years. For the time being, we just need to wait for the location permit to be issued by the Ministry of Transportation.”

Moreover, there are no big changes expected to the existing plans for the airport: the airport will be built on an area of 2,150 hectares, and half of the structure will be built over what is currently the ocean by extending the coastline. The airport complex will be integrated to a 750-hectare Aerotropolis.  “The first challenge in building the airport is being respectful to the environment around it,” said Mangku. “There will be two runways, each 7 kilometers in length so big commercial planes can land.  The AKC Group has suggested building using the ZEA [Zero Energy Airport] standard technology.”

Hiramsyah S Thaib, Head of Development of ‘10 Destinations in Indonesia’ which have become the priority for the Ministry of Tourism, remarked that they can’t rely on Ngurah Rai Airport aloner to take in visitors. That’s why they decided to build a second airport, which is also meant to reduce traffic—and tourist concentration –in South Bali.

“The purpose is to create a comfortable family destination as well as to have the first hub in the north of Bali,” Thaib said. “The airport can facilitate from 20 to 32 million passengers per year.” The airport will employ the ‘Airport City’ concept with plans for a fitness center, mall, theater, man-made lake, and many other supporting facilities that will make it the most advanced airport in the archipelago. “The international airport will even have a train to transport passengers from the parking lot to the boarding site.”

The Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya, supported the development of the new airport, especially considering Ngurah Rai International Airport only has one runway. “Bali needs another airport,” said Yahya. “One in the south and another in the north to balance it.” Another benefit that is expected to come from the new airport is the spreading out investment to the north of Bali.