Ni Komang Erviani , Contributor , The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua | Sat, 10/18/2008 11:15 AM | Bali
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika urges Ngurah Rai International Airport officials to directly contribute to the welfare of the Balinese people, citing the immense profits the airport operator has received from the public.
In a meeting with airport operator PT Angkasa Pura at the governor’s office in Denpasar on Thursday, Pastika requested that the airport shared some of its profit with locals.
“This aspiration surfaces because the public realizes how much money Angkasa Pura is making from operating Ngurah Rai Airport,”Pastika said.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the only commercial airport in Bali. Lt. Col. Wisnu airport, a military owned air base in Singaraja, is the only other airport available.
If the airport cannot directly contribute, then it should at least share its profits by holding corporate social responsibility events to upgrade and maintain its surrounding natural environment.
“My dream is to make the natural environment around Ngurah Rai Airport in the same class as the natural environment around Changi Airport in Singapore,”Pastika said.
“The green trees in and around Changi Airport are so neatly set up that everyone goes in and out of the airport feeling comfortable,”he said.
Pastika said he hoped Angkasa Pura was not in the business just to gain profits and that it, as the largest airport operator in the country, would continue to pay attention to the environment, which would increase the number of tourists visiting Bali.
He further requested that, in respect to security issues, the domestic departure terminal at Ngurah Rai be free from trading activities, massage services and the like.
“All international airports in the world have declared their departure terminals, be they domestic or international, as sterile areas,”he said.
“The existence of traders, masseurs and other businesses is not appropriate because they pose a very high risk in terms of security,”he said.
He told the operators to optimize the Airport Security Committee’s services in keeping the airport safe.
“This is important to continue Ngurah Rai Airport’s prestige as a safe airport and maintain that reputation,”he said.
In response, Angkasa Pura I General Manager of Ngurah Rai Airport, Heru Legowo, said the company had completed several activities that had contributed to the public’s welfare.
“For example, we have used the company’s money to fund training for small and medium-sized businesses and have continued to distribute loans,” he said.
The airport plans to upgrade the airport’s service by expanding the domestic departure terminal to 70,000 square meters, from its current size of 14,800 square meters,
Heru said. He said the tender for the project would start by the end of this year, while the building process would begin by early next year.
Heru said the airport had continued to use the Airport Security Committee’s services, saying the committee managed to cover 41 weaknesses in the airport’s security system that the International Flight Safety Committee had identified.
He said the feat was what allowed the United States to lift its travel warning to U.S. citizens from traveling to Indonesia, specifically Bali.
“This is thanks to our police forces and our military forces, especially the Air Force,” Heru said.