KATHMANDU, May 30: While the pandemic continues to impact international airport projects under construction, the government is planning on bringing them into operation in the next fiscal year.
Announcing the budget for the fiscal year 2021/22, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel on Saturday said that Rs 8.50 billion has been allocated to complete the construction work of Pokhara Regional International Airport, and to bring it into operation in the next fiscal year. The airport covers an area of around 3,900 ropanis. It was expected to be ready by July, 2021, but the pandemic delayed its construction. The project’s estimated cost is Rs 22 billion.
“I have allocated Rs 3.53 billion to complete the construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport and bring it into operation, and to start the construction of the second terminal building and other infrastructures,” said Minister Poudel. Although both international airports are in the final phase of construction, the timeline of these projects have been pushed back, owing to the pandemic. Most of the physical structures have already been built but technical assistance from abroad to install the equipment at the airports have been delayed.
Meanwhile, Minister Poudel also announced selecting international investors to prepare a detailed project report of Nijgadh International Airport. “In the coming Fiscal Year, land acquisition, site clearance and pre-construction work of airport construction will be completed,” Poudel added.
Transformation of Tribhuvan International Airport into a boutique airport, reflecting Nepal's culture will be carried out. The government plans to address the growing passenger traffic of the airport by constructing additional taxiways and parking. The airport also plans to upgrade terminal building. The government has allocated Rs 6.95 billion for the project.
Likewise, the government has allocated a total of Rs 1.33 billion for domestic airports, and has said that it will continue expansion, upgradation and modernization of the airports. Test flights will be conducted at Sukilumba in Ilam, Simichaur in Gulmi and Masinchaur in Dolpa. Khiji Chandeshwori Airport of Okhaldhunga will be brought into operation.
“Helipads at all local levels will be constructed for emergency health services and disaster management within the next fiscal year,” Poudel said.