International Airport Construction : Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

West Nusa Tenggara Governor HL Serinata officially commenced the construction work of Lombok International Airport on Saturday, by laying a foundation stone.The new airport will be located in Tanak Awu village, Central Lombok Regency, around 35 kilometers from Mataram. The ceremony was attended by West Nusa Tenggara provincial officers, Central Lombok Regent HL Wiratmaja and president of state-owned airport management company PT Angkasa Pura Heru Legowo.

“By laying this foundation stone, people here will see we seriously intend to establish and operate an international airport in the region,” Serinata said.

Serinata said he hoped the establishment and operation of a new airport would connect people directly to strategic international businesses according to Panca Nugraha.

He said he expected the international airport, which would cost some Rp 150 billion (about US$16.6 million), would bring many benefits to the people of Lombok when it opened in 2010.
Serinata said he expected the airport would bring the island many economic benefits due to the direct international links to Lombok. For this reason, he said, he encouraged people in the region to improve their skills to meet the expected increase in demands.

“I am sure many investors will come here to set up businesses. I hope the job market will open up for local residents. That’s why we need to increase residents capabilities,” Serinata said.

Heru Legowo said so far only small planes were available for visitors traveling by air to West Nusa Tenggara since the Selaparang airport in Mataram could not accommodate large airplanes.
He said he expected the new and larger airport in Lombok could accommodate bigger planes, like the Boeing 747.

West Nusa Tenggara provincial administration spokesman Ibnu Said his administration supported the construction of the new airport and had allocated funds from the regional budget for it.

“We have allocated Rp 5 billion per year since 2007. The fund comes out of the provincial budget,” he added.

While waiting for the airport’s completion, the provincial administration announced it planned to develop the tourism sector in Central Lombok.

PT Emmars, a Middle Eastern investor, has signed an agreement with the local administration to develop Kuta Beach in Central Lombok.

PT Emmars would construct several homestays, villas and hotels along the strip of land owned by the Lombok Tourism Development Center in Central Lombok.