Kaski, Dec 31: The Pokhara Regional International Airport is being inaugurated tomorrow- on Sunday. Its inauguration coincides with the English New Year, 2023.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' is scheduled to inaugurate the airport, and all preparations for the same have been over, said Pokhara Metropolitan City at a press conference here today. The metropolis has been tasked with looking after the arrangements for the people's participation, publicity and celebration of the event.
Welcome gates have been constructed at various places in the tourist city, of Pokhara. "The inauguration of the airport is like a festival for Pokhara. The long-awaited project has been finally over with the support and assistance of the local people. We will make the event grand. We have urged them to observe the moment by illuminating the houses in the evening," said Mayor Dhanraj Acharya.
Earlier, a rally of people clad in their original clothing and tableaux will be taken out through Amersingh Chaur in Pokhara. The airport envisioner Shankar Raj Pathak, also the then chief of the Gandaki Zone will be taken on a chariot in honour and given a civic felicitation, said Mayor Acharya.
Another engineer who envisioned the project Padam Bahadur Khatri will however be unable to be present on the occasion as he is outside the country. So, he will be given a civic felicitation upon his return, according to Mayor.
Bikram Gautam, Director of the Office of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the Pokhara International Airport, expressed the hope that the airport would open the door to prosperity not only for Pokhara but for the entire nation. Various airlines have shown their interest in operating flights from the airport, he added.
It will take a while to operate international flights from the airport, he said, adding that it aims to operate the airport 18 hours a day. "The operation time depends on the pressure of business. We are hopeful that it will be run up to 18 hours a day from February 2023."
Although Buddha Air, a privately owned airline in Nepal, underwent all the processes to operate an international flight to Varanasi in neighbouring India, it was halted after the Indian side did not grant permission, said Gautam.
The airport was constructed at a cost of Rs 22 billion in concessional loans and grants from the Exim Bank of China. For the project, 3,100 ropani of land were acquired first time in 2032 BS. The project was resumed and completed after a halt of some four decades due to various reasons.