Study committee recommends Nijgadh Int’l Airport builder operate TIA; joint operation for Pokhara-Bhairahawa airports

Published On: April 22, 2024 08:18 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 22: A study committee formed by the government has recommended that the builder of the Nijgadh International Airport, planned for construction in Bara, be entrusted to operate the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. Additionally, it has proposed that the operation of the airports in Pokhara and Bhairahawa be given to the same company.

The government formed the study committee on February 1 this year to explore the operation of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhairahawa airports under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The study committee is chaired by former secretary Shankar Adhikari.

Presenting its report to Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Hit Bahadur Tamang on Sunday, the committee suggested considering the simultaneous operation of both Nijgadh and Kathmandu airports by bundling them.

Ghyanshyam Ojha, chief of the Aviation Division of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that there is no situation where separate airports can be operated in the PPP model. The study committee has suggested that if the benefits of the TIA can be linked with the Nijgadh Airport, then both airports could come into operation smoothly.

Furthermore, the committee proposed that a company interested in building and operating an airport under the PPP model should have a minimum annual turnover of Rs 1 billion, and it must have operated at least one airport previously under the PPP model.

The report mentions that the TIA in Kathmandu has surpassed its capacity, currently serving around 9 million passengers a year while originally designed for 5 million. With limited capacity for expansion due to a single runway, the TIA cannot adequately handle the growing number of passengers. The necessity of the Nijgadh Airport for Nepal's aviation needs is highlighted in the report.

The committee concluded that the Nijgadh Airport is indispensable for Nepal's long-term aviation requirements. It recommended positioning the TIA as a domestic airport and emphasized the need for building the Nijgadh Airport as the only viable alternative to the TIA.


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