Kathmandu, Nov 28 : The Gautam Buddha International Airport construction at Bhairahawa, a project of national pride, has reported 84 percent work progress. Preparations have been made to operate the airport within March 2020 and the construction works have been intensified accordingly. It is said 84.25 percent of the construction works of the airport has been completed so far and finishing works of the terminal building and installation of technical equipments are being carried out vigorously.
Works on construction of infrastructures is moving ahead rapidly with the aim of operating this airport in the context of the Visit Nepal Year 2020. The plan is to start commercial flights three months after completing the construction of the infrastructures, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulatory body. CAAN has given special priority to this project and assigned responsibility to oversee the construction to one of its high official.
Spokesperson at Tribhuvan International Airport, Pratap Babu Tiwari has been transferred to the CAAN central office for this purpose. Tiwari will make the necessary facilitation for preparation for the prompt operation of the Gautam Buddha Airport as its chief. He will work under CAAN director general Rajan Pokharel.
Talking to RSS about the latest progress of Gautam Buddha Airport construction project, Tiwari said works related to the construction of the required infrastructure for operating commercial flights and installing the technical equipments would be expedited.
He said it is difficult to operate commercial flights in the stipulated time in the present situation. "Although construction of physical infrastructures has progressed, it takes long time to install the communications equipment at the airport. Commercial flights can be operated only in nine months from now," he said.
However, Prabesh Adhikari, who has been working as the Project Chief of Gautam Buddha Airport, said 84.25 percent progress has been made in the overall construction of the airport. According to him, the major works at present include the finishing works of the terminal building, installation of some equipment in front of the terminal building and works on taxiway and the runway. He said works on these structures are mobbing ahead at rapid pace.
Stating that works are being carried out in two shifts, he said works on terminal finishing are done in the night shift. The 45 metres wide and 3,000 metres long runway has already been asphalted before this.
CAAN top officials have been saying the Gautam Buddha Airport would be ready for operation of commercial flights well within the duration of the Visit Nepal Year 2020 and it would help ease the air traffic at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai too has been insisting that special priority has been given for operating the Gautam Buddha Airport at the earliest and it would be brought into use for commercial flights with the inauguration of the Visit Year.
Project Chief Adhikari said construction of physical infrastructures and works on installation of the airport equipments would be completed within December, and preparations have been made to bring it into operation towards the end of March.
The airport construction project was inaugurated in the beginning of 2015. The deadline was within December 2017, but the construction was stalled half-way due to the negligence of the construction company. The deadline was later extended by two years. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 7.32 billion.