Wednesday, 20 January, 2021

Surkhet Airport to be expanded


By Our Correspondent
Surkhet, Nov. 24: The government has decided to expand the runway of the Surkhet Airport for the second time after getting permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to acquire 30 bighas of land.
The way has been opened to expand the runway of the Surkhet Airport after the approval of the Council of Ministers.
Voice has been raised to expand the runway by at least 300 metres from the existing 1,255 metres citing that the runway was short.
It is believed that after the Cabinet meeting gave approval to acquire the land, the runway can be made at least 1,500 metres long so that small and big aircraft can also take off and land.
However, some challenges exist in the expansion of the airport even after the Cabinet gave nod to acquire the land.
The Ratna Highway and Kankrevihar Danda are in the south and a school and a dense settlement in the north.
As it was not possible to expand the runway due to the hill of Kankrevihar in the south, voice had been raised in the past to relocate the school and the settlement in the north to expand the runway.
An agreement was reached between the federal government and the Karnali state government on October 1 for the expansion of the runway.
It is mentioned that both the governments will invest 50 per cent each to expand the runway.
The state and federal governments will bear half of the cost of land acquisition each.
The private sector, which has been demanding the expansion of Surkhet Airport, has also welcomed the decision of the Council of Ministers and urged to start the expansion work along with land acquisition.
Laxman Kandel, general secretary of the Surkhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry, suggested extending the runway to the north.
He also said that there was potential in the south but there will be some difficulties due to the road and the hill of Kankrevihar.
He, however, said that it should be done wherever it is technically feasible.
The private sector has been demanding expansion of Surkhet Airport for years and now it has given approval to acquire land for expansion.
As the runway was small, 72-seater aircrafts could not come here and a 42-seater private sector aircraft has been charging high fares.
After the expansion of the runway, medium size aircrafts will come and fares will also be cheaper, said Kandel.
The Surkhet Civil Aviation Authority has drawn up a blueprint to extend the existing runway to the north.
Chief of Surkhet Civil Aviation Authority Umesh Kumar Panthi said that a team from the CAAN corporate office had studied the expansion and concluded that the area would be 460 meters long in the north, 200 meters in the south and 160 meters wide.
He said that a team from the central office of CAAN would come after receiving approval for the acquisition.
The length of Surkhet Airport, which was established in 2023 BS, was 1,000 meters. Six years ago, it was expanded by 250 meters to 1,255 meters. 

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