Growing Concern that Bali's Master Plan for Airport Development is Badly Out of Synch with the Future Needs of Bali's Tourism Industry.
(11/10/2007) PT Angkasa Pura I, the managers of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport, surprised a meeting of local planners and regency officials on November 5, 2007 when they revealed current airport development plans only contemplate a runway extension sometime after the year 2025.
Quoting Angkasa Pura's aviation consultants, the current thinking is that Bali's single runway of 3,000 meters in length and 45 meters in width "is sufficient to land a Boeing 747 carrying 400 passengers and a full load of fuel."
Missing the Point
Such a statement from "expert consultants" is raising eyebrows on several levels:
• On the most basic level, such a statement as reported in Nusa Bali holds the expertise of the consultants in some suspicion. Airplanes never land with full loads of fuel, because, on a very practical level, fuel is burnt during any flight. In instances where a newly departed aircraft must return to its originating airport for emergency reasons, fuel is typically burnt off or pumped off before a landing is permitted.
• A newer generation B747-400 fully fueled and fully loaded needs 3,018 meters of runway. Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport has only 3,000 meters of runway. For this reason, B747s departing from Bali cannot be fully fueled and are therefore unable to undertake long-haul flights without doing an intermediate fuel stop at a regional airport, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.
• A B777-300 at maximum take-off weight needs 3,410 meters of runway or 400 meters more than Bali's airport can offer.
• The Airbus 380 also need more than 3,000 meters of runway (and a 60 meter runway width) to operate.
The airport development plans presented by Angkasa Pura focus on expanding terminal facilities and increasing apron areas between now and 2025.
At the recent meeting, Angkasa Pura's manager for Bali, I Nyoman Suwetja Putra, expressed the thought that a long delay in expanding Bali's runway will cause the island to lose market share among international air travelers, currently increasing at an average rate of 20 percent per annum. If that rate of growth continues, Bali's airport will be handling an average 23,000 passengers every day by 2025, an eight-fold increase from current levels of passenger traffic.