Bintan Island angling for an airport

22 Oct 2008

The Indonesian resort island of Bintan, a favourite getaway spot for business travellers from nearby Singapore, is lobbying for the opening of a new private regional airport as part of ambitious plans to develop the destination.

Asad Shiraz, director of marketing at Bintan Resorts International, hoped to have the new facility open as early as 2010, if the central government in Jakarta gives the green light.

Bintan is already due to build extended ferry facilities to cope with an expected rise in demand from the arrival of the integrated resorts projects in Singapore.

Traditionally, Bintan served as a leisure destination as well as a location for corporate meetings and incentives for multinational companies based in Singapore.

Shiraz said the new infrastructure would be necessary to meet the needs of the latest stage of developments on the island in the Lagoi Bay area, which will see new hotel, conference and residential facilities being built over the next five years.

Other plans include re-equipping the ferry fleet with two new high-speed boats to add to the three already serving the 55-minute Singapore-Bintan route.

Shiraz said the proposed new airport in the island’s southwest would serve mainly domestic Indonesian markets and regional routes and exploratory talks had been held with one mainland China carrier on the possibility of charter flights.

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Kenny Coyle

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