It looks like we have to wait a little bit longer for a second airport on the Island of Gods after the plan to build the facility in the northern part of Bali was officially shelved by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
The North Bali Airport was originally scheduled to be completed by 2024, which would coincide with President Jokowi's final year in office. However, the airport has been removed from the National Strategic Project (PSN), along with other infrastructure projects such as Tiro Dam in Aceh and the Tanjung Api-Api Economic Center in South Sumatra.
Wahyu Utomo, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs' deputy of regional development and spatial planning, said in a statement that the new airport's lack of progress was the main reason behind the decision.
"[The project] had been given a warning for extension, but there is no progress so it was removed," he said.
Officials reportedly hadn't even procured all the land required for the North Bali Airport despite the 2024 operational launch deadline.
The offshore airport is to be located in Kubutambahan, Buleleng, with the project initiated by private airport construction company PT BIBU Panji Sakti.
China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd, a subsidiary of China's state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd, was set to handle the construction of the new airport.
Separately, Buleleng Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana said that he was "surprised" by the central government's announcement, saying it's essential for the island to have a second airport to avoid overcrowding at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
"Now it is back to the [Bali] Provincial Government to fight so [the new airport] can once again come to fruition," he said, adding that the provincial government is committed to resolve land conflicts in Sumberkamplok Village, where the new airport is set to be erected.
Putu Agus said the COVID-19 pandemic likely forced the central government to prioritize other projects, but noted that this setback is not "the end" for Bali's new airport.