When will Gautam Buddha International Airport come into operation?
December 30, 2020 11:51 AM NPT
By: Rekha Bhusal
KATHMANDU, Dec 30: Physical construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) project, which is believed to be a stepping stone to open the door of development and prosperity of western Nepal, has almost been completed. If technical manpower is available, all works are estimated to be complete within the next three months.
GBIA Project Chief Prabesh Adhikari said that the physical construction has been completed and the work of connecting equipment to the structures is pending. He said that interior and finishing work is underway. Adhikari said that they could not work as per the target as technical manpower working in the project could not return to work on time due to COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, 200 workers, including some Indians and Chinese, are currently working at the airport. Preparation work is underway for connecting the main equipment.
An eight-storey control tower has been constructed at the airport. Physical infrastructure such as international terminal building, administrative building, fire building, power substation, security personnel housing have been constructed. The works related to internet installation, setting up of checking counters and offices are underway.
Three thousand meters long runway has been prepared. An apron with the capacity of 5 aircraft parking is also ready. A taxiway of 1,900 meters has been built. Similarly, a 10 km perimeter road, drinking water tank and garden are being constructed around the runway. Land has also been acquired for radar under a long-term plan. According to the project, Nepal Oil Corporation is preparing to build a depot.
The airport spread in 287-bigha land has now expanded to 810 bighas. Any aircraft arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), including Airbus 330, Boeing 777-200 series, can safely take off and land from this International Civil Aviation Organization's 'Four E' level airport. It has the capacity to serve 400 passengers per hour. The runway and taxiway, equipped with modern equipment, is better than that of TIA, said the project chief.
Although it is claimed that the project will come under operation in three months if technical manpower is available, some officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) have expressed doubt. “A lot of project works are yet to be completed. No preparations have been made for the operation. Even if the work takes momentum, it will take at least a year to complete it,” said an official of CAAN.
According to him, all the work of ICB-1 and 2 should be completed first. Management of security, immigration, customs and staff should be done on time. After everything is managed, the system will be checked by flying an aircraft brought from Thailand before the test flight.
In addition, Bhairahawa Airport is close to the Indian border. Permission has to be obtained from the concerned country if international flights are carried out through their skies. Discussions are underway with the Indian side for this and despite the positive response, preparations for the agreement are still pending, said the CAAN sources.