Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari inaugurates blacktopping work at the runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport, Bhairahawa. Photo:MUHAMMAD HABIB/Republica
BHAIRAHAWA, Oct 31: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Rabindra Adhikari has said the runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) will get ready within six months.
Inaugurating the work of blacktopping the runway on Tuesday, Adhikari said that contractors have committed to complete the runway within the next four months. However, the ministry has extended the time period for completion of the runway by two months.
Even before this, the minister had said that GBIA will be completely ready to welcome visitors for Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020.
Adhikari further assured to appoint the project chief soon, while appreciating the smooth progress of construction works under the acting project chief.
“There won’t be any problem on air route as we are working to settle it soon. We are having frequent discussion about it,” the minister said.
Recently India had provided new air routes to Nepal from the eastern side over Biratnagar and Janakpur. Prior to that, incoming international flights had to use the single air entry route over Simara. However, western air entry routes over Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar did not get permission for high altitude international flights.
Talking about the compensation against the acquiesced land, minister Adhikari said: “A target has been set to complete the compensation distribution within one year. All together, around Rs 9 billion of compensation will be distributed by this year.”
Currently, the construction of six parking bays has been completed and additional 10 parking bays will be constructed soon, he added.
He further said that some international airline companies have been regularly having discussion about operating regular and charter flights in Nepal.
“Soon after the airport is ready, the upgrading of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) runway shall begin. Until TIA runway gets completed, GBIA runway will be used as the alternate,” the minister added.
Similarly, chief engineer of the project Prabesh Adhikari has also assured that the blacktopping of the runway will get completed within the targeted timeframe.
“Runway blacktopping has started with asphalt machine. We also have managed all required machineries and raw materials for blacktopping,” he said. “Within four months, the runway will get completely ready.”
Along with blacktopping, lighting and other mechanical works are progressing simultaneously, he added. “The current runway which is in operation will be expanded 200 meters each on both eastern and western parts, and will be upgraded to a length of 1900 meters to be used as taxiway.”
The construction of the runway has achieved 55 percent physical progress till now. According to the project committee, the airport is expected to be completed by June, 2019, as most of the work is about to get completed.
According to Adhikari, the construction of the parking area has been completed which can park five aircraft at once.
The construction of the airport was started in 2015 and was expected to get completed by 2017. According to the project committee, until now the construction of the administration building, control tower, runway, international terminal building have reached at final stage.