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Lombok Airport, Indonesia


In the mid-1990s, amid rapid expansion of the tourism industry on the island of Lombok, hundreds of families who had lived in the area for many generations were evicted from 800 hectares of farmland for Lombok Airport, built specifically to provide access to new tourist resorts.[1] Airport construction plans stalled when economic crisis hit Indonesia in the late 1990s, but local municipality oppression of peasants had continued and by 2005 the project was back on the agenda. On 23rd August 2005 2,631 residents of Tanak Awu were forcibly evicted for the airport by local authorities accompanied by police. The evictees had never been consulted about the airport project and were left unable to feed themselves.[2]

A report published by Focus on the Global South documents events nearly a month later, on 18th September 2005, when police, without provocation, fired into a crowd of 1,000 people who had gathered to commemorate Indonesia’s National Peasant’s Day and protest the construction of Lombok Airport on fertile farmland. Thirty-three protesters were injured, 27 of them by gunshots, six from being beaten by police. The people who were shot included two women and at least one child. A report by the Land Research Action Network (LRAN) stated that eye-witnesses including journalists saw police fire on the crown, which included women and children, spraying people with teargas and gunfire consisting of both rubber and metal bullets. The meeting was violently dispersed and at least ten peasants were arrested, some of then dragged from their hospital beds, and they were denied access to their supporters, lawyers and journalists [10].

Videos showing horrific footage of police brutality were shown widely on national television networks, including a woman being violently dragged along the ground for about 30 metres and a man bleeding profusely from his head being roughly thrown against a pickup truck by a policeman grabbing hold of his hair. Human rights specialists noted severe violation of a number of internationally recognized human rights including the right to physical integrity and the right to peaceful assembly. Secretary General of the Indonesian Federation of Peasant Unions (FSPI) was outraged at the airport construction plans on productive peasant lands. Their fertile farmland was the only resource available to them for their livelihoods.[3]

The shooting of protesters took place just a few hours before the arrival of an international delegation composed of FIAN International, La Via Campesina and other international NGOs, invited by peasant farmers to discuss the ongoing land struggles related to planned construction of Lombok Airport. FIAN launched an urgent action calling upon the government to withdraw a regulation permitting compulsory acquisition of land for public facilities such as airports without due process and safeguards for poor landholders. The airport project threatened the right to food of about 7,000 people. State violence and forced evictions without proper rehabilitation and compensation violated the Indonesian constitution and international human rights law.[2]

In June 2006 farmers reacted angrily to surveyors, guarded by police, measuring land for the airport. Farmers were anticipating land measurement by PT Angkasa Pura (operator of Indonesia’s airports) and the Central Lombok Regency government and had been refusing land acquisition and the compensation offer for 12 years.[4]

In November 2016 it was reported that a number of residents impacted by Lombok Airport were still seeking clarity and resolution regarding land acquisition issues, highlighting flaws in calculation of land price which affected compensation rates and demanding settlement of outstanding payments.[5] In March 2018 a group of people representing communities affected by Lombok Airport went to the office of the Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK), a body charged with eradicating corruption, requesting legal assistance regarding disputed land expropriated for Lombok Airport. Residents claimed that compensation for more than 7 hectares of land had not been paid by PT Angkasa Pura and that measurement of the land in 1995 had misrepresented the size of the land in question. A letter on the matter had already been filed in November 2017, by the national commission on human rights, Komnas HAM.[6]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Lombok Airport, Indonesia
State or province:West Nusa Tenggara
Location of conflict:Tanak Awu
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Lombok Airport is the main airport on Lombok island. After many years of construction delays it commenced operations in 2011. Lombok Airport is operated by PT Angkasa Pura (state-owned operator of Indonesia’s airports). PT Angkasa Pura allocated US$5 million to expand Lombok Airport premises in October 2016, including construction of two new parking spaces for wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330.[7] The runway will be expanded from 2,750 to 3,500 metres to accommodate long-haul flights.[8] Commercial development is planned on land owned by Lombok Airport. In January 2016 the airport’s General Manager had announced that a Motocross (off-road motorcycling) circuit would be built near the airport’s main entrance, covering 5 hectares of the airport’s 511 hectares of land.[9]

Project area:800
Level of Investment for the conflictive project138,900,000 (Phase 1)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:7,000 (impact on right to food)
Start of the conflict:1994
Company names or state enterprises:PT Angkasa Pura from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:National government of Indonesia
Province of West Nusa Tenggara
Central Lombok Regency
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Indonesian Federation of Peasant Unions (FSPI)
Serta NTB (West Nusa Tenggara Peasant Union)
FIAN International -
La Via Campesina -
Land Research Action Network -
Focus on the Global South -

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Malnutrition
Potential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIn 2005 the airport project threatened the right to food of approximately 7,000 people [2]
33 peasant farmers injured by police - 27 by shooting, 6 by beating [3]
Illnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:In spite of strong opposition Tanak Awu farmers were forcibly evicted for Lombok Airport and police fired gunshot on protesters on 18th September 2005 with 33 people being shot. Disputes over some plots of land acquired for Lombok Airport continue.

Sources & Materials

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

[10] LRAN 2007. Police Open Fire on Peasants in Lombok, Indonesia. Land Research Action Network. spip/spip.php?article150

[1] Beaches and broken bones, Inside Indonesia, July-September 1996

[2] Indonesia: Land for peasants or for tourism? The right to food of more than 7000 persons is threatened by the construction of an international airport, Tanak Awu, Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, La Via Campesina and FIAN International, 2 November 2005

[3] Police Open Fire on Peasants in Lombok, Indonesia, Land Research Action Network (LRAN), 21 September 2005

[4] Ratusan Warga Tanak Awu Mengamuk Lagi,, 21 June 2006

[5] Persoalan Lahan Bandara Dianggap Beres, Tim Penyelesaian Sengketa Tetap Dibentuk,, 16 November 2016

[6] Perwakilan Masyarakat Lombok Tengah Tuntut Kejelasan Lahan Bandara,, 27 March 2018

[7] Airport operator allocates Rp78b to expand Lombok airport, Jakarta Post, 12 October 2016

[8] Gov’t Focus on Developing Connectivity Infrastructure in Lombok, Netral English, 11 February 2017

[9] Motocross circuit to be built at Lombok International Airport, Antara News, 23 January 2016

Meta information

Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3685



Land disputes continue

In March 2018 representatives of communities around Lombok Airport demanded compensation for land. Source:

Land measurement, June 2006

Farmers reacted with anger to surveyors measuring their land for Lombok Airport