Nepal: Gautam Buddha International Airport to come into operation within ten months

The Gautam Buddha International Airport is likely to come into operation within 10 months if things go as planned.

Addressing the 22nd annual general assembly of village tourism promotion forum (VITOPF) here Tuesday, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari said the progress of under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport had advanced smoothly and 55 percent of the entire works was completed.

Construction of the Gautam Buddha International Airport would be complete by the end of 2018 and operated four months after the completion of the construction activities. Currently, base work of the runway has been completed and the blacktop of the runway would commence after the end of rainy season, the project officials said.

Asian Development Bank and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) are spending Rs 7 billion for the project, which is regarded as one of the key factors for Nepal’s tourism promotion and increased economic activities.

The government has prioritized the construction of the airport in the annual budget as well as policy and programmes in order to bring in 2 million tourists in Nepal Visit Year 2020.

“Airports should be increased if the number of tourists’ arrival were to increase. So, we have upscaled the work of airport expansion,” Adhikari claimed.

Minister Adhikari reiterated that construction of the Pokhara Regional International Airport and second international airport in Nijgadh would be expedited along with the completion of national pride project Gautam Buddha Airport.

The Gautam Buddha Airport located in Bhairahawa will be the second international airport in the country to relief pressure currently sustained by the congested Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The contract to upgrade the airport were awarded to chinese company North-west in October 2014, to complete the project by end of 2017, but it is certain to be pushed back to early 2019 due to the earthquake and the Indian blockade for almost six months.

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