Finance ministry has given approval for two possible modalities for the operation of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) which is currently under construction.
Finance ministry has given approval to operate the airport under Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) or by bringing in foreign operators through completion to operate the airport.
An official from finance ministry has stated that they will choose the model which will be able to carry out proper management and make profit from the very beginning of the operation of the airport.
CAAN has stated that the construction of the airport is in final phase and the airport is set to come into operation soon and as no final modality has been chosen, the authority will operate the airport.
As the modality has not been fixed, providing the operation of the airport to foreign company will take long time due to various processes thus CAAN will operate the airport at the beginning added the authority.
CAAN has already made proposal and already sent it to Minister Council for approval and is now waiting for final verdict.
Government has been focusing on providing the management and operation of the airport to foreign companies so as to be able to operate with high profit that will help to repay the loan granted by Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the construction of the airport.
Late Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari had also stated about giving the operation to the foreign company however after the tragic demise of the minister the issue has not been able to get pace.
The work of the airport is in final phase and the work of runway construction and blacktopping, Terminal Building, control tower is being paced up and is in final phase.
Tender for supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of various equipment needed in operation of the airport has also paced up and the work is commencing soon. The physical infrastructure of GBIA will complete within the time-frame.
Test flight can be done soon after the blacktopping work completes. Till now, almost 70 per cent of infrastructural work have been accomplished.
The project was awarded to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group in November 2013 for NRs. 6.22 Billion and was expected to be completed by end of 2017. However, it couldn’t complete due to dispute over payment between Chinese contractor and Nepali sub-contractor, Madhesh movement, blockade, earthquake etc. and the construction company had requested to extend the deadline till 2019 however, the project is further extended to 2020.
The airport will be the country’s second international airport and is expected to minimize the traffic congestion of Tribhuvan international Airport (TIA).