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New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA), Java, Indonesia


Kulon Progo is allocated on the southern coastal area of ​​Yogyakarta Province. This place is one of nature's most important reserves in Java. This area is included in the list of 14 sand dunes in the world that have special functions as reducing the danger of tsunami threat, intrusion prevention or seawater infiltration to groundwater layer, and inhibit erosion of coastal land by waves. Moreover, since the 1980s, this area has been allocated to agriculture economies as the way of life of the surrounding residents. However this coast region is interested by extractive project investments too: iron sand mining, infrastructure and tourism [9, 10].  The government has revealed plans to develop surrounding areas of Borobudur temple in Magelang regency, Central Java as new tourist destinations, including Bener district, Salaman and Tritis [4]. In order to develop tourism, a new international airport for Yogyakarta was announced in 2011. This way, touristic routes will take people to new tourist destinations and then to the well known Borobudur temple (Buddhist stupa and temple complex in Central Java dating back to the 8th century and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site). Moreover, in 2017, it was also announced that the overall plan was including not only the airport but also a city surrounding the airport with entertainment venues, hotels, other infrastructure and mining industries. 

The project is a join venture of PT Angkasa Pura I and Indian resources from GVK Power and Infrastructure company [2].  Construction of Kulon Progo Airport city commenced in January 2017. Moreover, a new road is to be built from Kulon Progo Airport to Borobudur. As a consequences six villages are affected and have been evicted: Glagah, Palihan, Sindutan, Jangkaran, Kebon Rejo and Temon Kulon. The airport threatens to displace 2,875 households with 11,501 inhabitants, most of whom make their living from agriculture and fishing. Hundreds of farmers have refused to accept the compensation packages on offer for land [2]. Farmers, students and more than 84 social organization are calling for cancellation of the airport project. The organizations also denounce violations of law related to the absence of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

According to the "SHADOW REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN INDONESIA" report [13], the Sultan is the owner of the land so the land is "leased" to the villagers, but still claimed by the Sultan and backed by controversial Indonesia law. This creates conflicts when the Sultan is offered a more lucrative deal. This feudal system was supported by VOC/British colonist and is currently being revived under the regional autonomy of Yogyakarta Sultanate. In contrast, residents who have been living and working there for decades have been supported by National Indonesian Agrarian Law. According to this law (UUPA- Undang-Undang Pokok Agrarian tahun 1960), residents have secured property rights and the management of the land. However, this law still applies in Indonesia but not in Yogyakarta any more. Sultanate/Duchy imposes a colonial low to claim the land in this province. Despite the mobilization, the President Widodo broke ground on the project at the end of January 2017. And the event was met with a massive wave of protests, including obstruction of the ground-breaking ceremony [5, 6]. Hundreds of farmers have refused to accept the compensation packages on offer for land [2].  The movement protest thought marches, public campaigns, street art and direct action including a sit-in protest blocking a road with tree branches and stones, obstructing land surveys and removing boundary markers; and four university students went on hunger strike [13, 12]. Women play a prominent role in resisting the forced eviction for the new airport, "they stand their ground against the intimidation of large numbers of male officials, facing down heavy verbal aggression, refusing to obey commands, refuting claims that the airport is for their economic benefit and asserting their right to remain in their homes" [9]. Moreover, The National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has stated that the development of the new airport violates the rights of local residents and farmers and land owners surrounding airport project area had not received proper information of the negative impacts on their livelihoods [7]. Legal Aid Yogyakarta organization alerted that the project will result in the loss of vegetables production (basic food for living)[11] and the possible negative impacts on loosing sacred cultural valued sites; such as: Glagah Stupa Sites, Bronze Statues of Amoghasidhi and Vajrapani, Lumpang Batu, Eyang Gadhung Mlati, Gunung Lanang and Putri, and Makam Mbah Drajad [10]. According to The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Indonesian police, the Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol PP), and the Army have been acting violently against the protesters and villagers resisting displacement for the new airport [8] and the protesters (students, residents, activists) have been criminalized.  

After the protests and demonstration that took place during 2014-2015, four farmers: Sarijo, Wakidi, Tri Marsudiand Wasiyo, were sentenced to four months in prison for incitement (Sarijo) and damaging property (the three others)[13] . The worst incidence occurred on 16th February 2016 [9, 10]. Prior to construction, six villages were resisting against the construction of a two-metre-high security fence to block off the site and the police and army violently attacked the residents. Another peak of violence was on 27th of November of 2017. A video posted by Jogja Darurat Agraria [8] shows how  400 officials (police, army and representatives of Indonesia’s state-owned airport developer PT Angkasa Pura), cut off electricity supplies from villager's houses and using bulldozers destroyed some houses and trees and plants were uprooted. Villagers and students supported (including women, men and children resisted and tried to block standing and lying in the path of the bulldozers, however, they were dragged away by officials. On December 5th 2017 the police arrested 12 activist from the Solidarity network in the area [13]. On  8, January 2017, violence against citizens and students happened again. At least 15 residents and volunteers were fell victims, and two of them were rushed to the hospital due to injuries caused by the police (according to Solidarity networking)

Other day by day forms of violence against the residents who are still resisting in their houses, are threats and intimidations, some roads were closed by the police, they were deprived of electricity to force the residents to leave the area. Currently, at least 38 houses are still there and they are supported by solidarity network and  PWPP-KP but they suffer violence and threats almost everyday [14, 16,17]. Creative and difference strategies of mobilization are developing right now, e.g., find and use alternative energy sources such as solar panels; groups of students protect the houses to avoid eviction, clean and protect religious places, put the Indonesian shield on the houses (it's forbidden by government to touch that symbol). The last news [14, 15, 16] informed that there are eight investors acquiring land for the construction of their hotel in this area and the project continues, and the local government has offered money and agricultural land as a compensation [17].


Basic Data

Name of conflict:New Yogyakarta International Airport (NYIA), Java, Indonesia
State or province:Java
Location of conflict:Kulon progo, Yogyakarta
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Ports and airport projects
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Indonesia already has 237 airports and between 2010 and 2015 passenger numbers tripled to reach 88.7 million. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects continued aviation growth in Indonesia, anticipating 219 million passengers in 2034, the world’s fourth fastest growth rate after China, the US and India.

The Global Anti-Areotropolis Movement (GAAM) reports revealed [2,9,10] that this project is part of the national Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI). The MP3EI Mega project, which was launched in 2011, contains a package of developments that encompass Indonesia into 6 areas / corridors of new capital-intensive industrialization projects. MP3EI planed Java Island as a national industrial and service area. Especially for Yogyakarta, MP3EI documents position it as one of the MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) areas.

The Indonesian government is implementing a major aviation expansion programme which requires large amounts of state funding. In April 2015 the Ministry of Transportation announced a plan to build 57 new airports over the next five years, pledging to allocate US$5.5 billion for the projects [3].

Moreover, there are plans for commercial and industrial development around several airports: Juanda, Hang Nadim, Kuala Namu, Sultan Hasanuddin and Kertajati. Kulon Progo is one of them. All are potential examples of an emerging urban form known as the ‘aerotropolis’ [2].

According to Ankara Pura company, the Aerotropolis plan in Kulon Progo is made up of: Airport area (1200 Ha) ; area for recreation and Business (800Ha), Area for industry and residence (640 Ha); green and reserved area (1500Ha).

In the plan it is also included a future road that will connect the Aerotropolis with Yogyakarta center.

Project area:2,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project500,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:11,501 directly under eviction threat or already displaced
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:PT Angkasa Pura from Indonesia
GVK Power and Infractructure (GVK) from India -
Relevant government actors:Indonesian Government, State Owner Enterprise (SOE), Army, Police, and Satpol PP, National Land Agency (BPN) in Kulon Progo Regency.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Paguyuban Warga Penolak Penggusuran Kulon Progo (PWPP-KP)
Wahana Tri Tunggal Farmers Organization (WTT)
Yogyakarta Legal Aid (LBH Yogyakarta)
Jogja Darurat Agraria (

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Groups of students protect the houses to avoid evicted, clean and protect religious places, put the Indonesian shield in the houses as it's forbidden by government to touch that symbol.


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment


Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

UUPA/ Undang-undang Pokok Agrarian Tahun 1960

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Rose Bridger. 2017. Aviation expansion in Indonesia Aerotropolis Update Tourism, land struggles, economic zones and aerotropolis projects

[9] Rose Bridger (GAAM) Courageous resistance to forced eviction for New Yogyakarta International Airport

[10] GAAM: Resisting Kulon Progo Airport – inspirational artwork. September 4, 2017



Pramilla Deva. 2018. Flight-path farmers pushed out

[3] Construction of 57 New Airports to Start in the Next 5 Years. 2015

[4] Govt to develop new tourist destinations around Borobudur.2016.

[5] Perjuangan WTT Kulon Progo (Kulon Progo's struggle)

[6] Perjalanan perjuangan masyarakat Pesisir Kulon Progo dalam menolak pembangunan bandara.2015

[7] Kulon Progo airport development violates human rights: Komnas Ham.2015.

[8] INDONESIA: Police and Army attack residents protesting airport expansion. Asian Human Rights Commission.2016

[11] Protesters to Stop Jokowi from Groundbreaking Yogya New Airport

[13] Islands in focus: Hunger strike over Kulon Progo airport continues

[14] Hasto: Warga Penolak Bandara Diprovokasi Orang Luar. 15/1/2018

[15] Delapan Investor Perhotelan Sudah Tancap Taring di Temon

[16] AP I: Pembangunan Bandara NYIA Kulon Progo Tetap Sesuai Target

[17] PWPP-KP: Mau Saja Ditemui, Asal Bukan Soal Bandara

[17] Hasto Siap Tawarkan Lahan Pertanian 10 Hektare untuk Warga Penolak Bandara

GVK India to invest US500 million in the development of Kulon Progo Airport

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[8] Infrastructure Development in Indonesia - Yogyakarta International Airport. #Jogja Darurat Agraria.

[9] BERITA WARGA "Jangan lagi ada warga se-DIY ini yang digusur, diusir, berduka karena harus kehilangan ruang hidup dan penghidupannya" - #JogjaDaruratAgraria

[12] News: Yogyakarta Residents Protest Airport Construction

Jogja Darurat Agraria

Against the Construction of Kulon Progo International Airport, Indonesia

GAAM (Global Anti-aereotropolis Movement)

Solar panels as alternative to elecricity

Meta information

Contributor:ICTA-UAB and Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3215



Local campaigns against NYIA.

Banner of Women Struggle fight against airport city. Source:

Source: Carmen Díaz

As a mobilization strategy the protester put the Indonesian shield in the houses as it's forbidden by government to touch that symbol. Dec 2017

Source: Carmen Díaz

House resists of evicting and it is protected by a group of students. Dec 2017