Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), the under construction airport at Bhairahawa may not come into operation in 2019. The expectation of operating the airport by 2019 has almost ended after the untimely demise of Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Mr. Rabindra Adhikari.
The physical infrastructure of GBIA will complete within the timeframe. However, installation of various equipment will be accomplished by the end of 2019 only. Though the airport will be eligible for test flight, regular flight operation will only initiate once the international standards and guidelines are fulfilled. The overall completion of the airport project is expected by April, 2020.
The construction work is at its final phase as 70% of infrastructural work (ICB 01) is completed. But the installation of equipment (ICB 02) will be initiated only after the end of 2019.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is preparing to select company for the installation of communication and navigation equipment. It would take over 9 months for the selection and installation process so, the operation date is extended.
CAAN has agreed to proceed $4.8 million project with Aeronautical Radio of Thailand to install Communication and Navigation Equipment. As per the agreement, the company must complete the project within 9 months.
Director General of CAAN, Sanjiv Gautam and Nuttawat Supanundha of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand signed on the contract on 7th March, 2019. The authority has to initiate processes for the installation of Surveillance Equipment with newer approach.
CAAN had elected the Thai firm ‘Aeronautical Radio of Thailand’ out of 7 companies that had bid for second phase project of GBIA which comprises of installation of various equipment.
The project duration will be of 9 months from the day of contract awarded and the Thai Firm will now have to complete the project within December this year. The testing of the equipment will be done afterward which is expected to take around 2 months.
The manufacturing of the equipment is expected to take 3 months while transporting them to Nepal and installation of them is expected to take another 2-2 months. The project will be divided into 4 phases that will include installation, testing, authorizing and flight calibration of navigation and communication systems.
The airport is set to have CAT I standard Instrument Landing System (ILS). Nepal Oil Corporation is also set to establish aviation fuel depot at the airport which will have capacity to reserve fuel of around two thousand kiloliter.