KATHMANDU, Nov 3: Thailand has become the first country to sign bilateral air services agreement with Nepal to operate commercial flights to Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), located at Bhairahawa.
A team of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) led by joint secretary Suresh Acharya signed the agreement with Chula Sukmanop, director of Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), on Thursday.
According to the agreement, airlines companies of both the countries can operate as many as 28 flights per week at the airport.
Thailand is the first country to agree to operate commercial flights at GBIA, which is currently under construction and is expected to get completed by August, 2019.
The ministry has expected that this agreement will encourage other countries to operate flights out of the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal is hoping to see international flights operating out of the capital city in near future.
GBIA will be the Nepal’s second international airport, after Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Currently, two airlines companies from Thailand -- Thai Airlines and Thai Lion Air -- are operating daily commercial flight to TIA.
Inaugurating the work of blacktopping the runway of GBIA on Tuesday, Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari had said that contractors have committed to complete the runway within the next four months. He had earlier said that the GBIA will be completely ready to welcome visitors for Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020.
Along with blacktopping, lighting and other mechanical works are progressing simultaneously at the airport. The construction of the airport was started in 2015 and was initially expected to get completed by 2017.
According to the project committee looking after GBIA construction, the works of administration building, control tower, runway, international terminal building have already reached final stage.