The construction work of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), a national pride project has attained above 58 per cent of physical progress.
Sanjeev Gautam, Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) stated that the construction has paced up with the aim of commencing internal flights from April whereas international flights from August, 2019. “We will call airlines to take flight schedule (slot) in Bhairahawa on February,” he added.
He also informed that though CAAN has been preparing to operate GBIA in the present time, the decision is made to hand over the responsibility to third party in the future.
As per the CAAN, NRs 23 Billions will be spent in the land compensation, NRs 93 crore in the equipment and NRs 6 Billion in infrastructure building.
Nepal government has its own investment in the amount of land acquisition whereas expenses for the infrastructure building and equipment is the investment of Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Though local people do not believe that GBIA will come into operation in short time, but Prabesh Adhikari, chief of the project claims that within 6 months, 22 per cent infrastructure building work will be completed and 20 per cent of equipment installment will be completed then the international flights will be started.
He said that the runway work will be done in February and the construction work of administrative and terminal building will be completed in May. The infrastructures are ready for the device connection and we are preparing to commence international flights from August, 2019 he further claimed.
The runway of the airport will be 3,000 meters long. The Construction work of terminal buildings, water tanks, and control towers, among other infrastructures, are also underway of construction.
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 but due to shortages of fuel and building materials and due to the months-long Terai closure in 2015 delayed the works by six months along with dispute between the Chinese contractor and the Nepali sub-contractor, Northwest Infra Nepal, and its operation deadline was revised to June 2018 and now to 2019.