Tourism Minister (MoCTCA) Rabindra Adhikari has stated that Pokhara International airport which is currently under construction will be able to operate international flights within upcoming 2 years.
The airport has been undergoing rapid construction lately with the work of runway, taxiway and parking being constructed in final phase. The airport has completed around 28% of physical progress and Minister Adhikari believes that the airport will come into operation within 2 years which will help in promotion of tourism of the area.
The construction contract of the airport has been undertaken by Chinese Company CAMC Engineering to complete the work within 2021 July 10. The constructor company has aimed to complete the work of airfield that includes work of runway, taxiway, parking bay etc. within current fiscal year (by June 2019).
Minister Adhikari attended an annual day of Adharbhut School in Pokhara and expressed the need and development of education and also stated the necessity of coordination between provincial and central government for carrying out development of any infrastructure.
The airport is being constructed as category 4D standard set by the ICAO, IATA and FAA. A 2.5km-long and 45m-wide runway with a 330m runway strip is planned to be built at the proposed Pokhara airport to support take-off and landing operations of big commercial aircraft such as Airbus A320, Boeing 737-700 series, and Boeing 757-200 with passenger capacity of around 190.
A 1.2km x 23m parallel taxiway will be built from the runway central line on the north side. The parking bay of the airport will accommodate 3 Airbus 320 or Boeing 737/757 and 4 ATR 72 and 4 Twin Otter aircraft. The work of Runway and Taxiway is expected to be completed by April/May this year and the work has been carried out simultaneously.
The air-side infrastructure works will also include construction of two 182.5m-long and 23m-wide exit taxiways, access roads and aerodrome pavement.
The proposed airport will be built over 200 hectares of land acquired by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) in 1974.
In May 2014, China CAMC Engineering secured an engineering, procurement and construction contract from CAAN to build the airport. In March 2016, EXIM Bank of China executed a loan agreement with the Nepalese Ministry of Finance to provide $215.96 Millions in funding to support the new airport.
The airport site is located at Chhinne Danda, 800m above mean sea level in the city of Pokhara. It is situated 3km east of Pokhara’s existing domestic airport which is well connected to the Prithvi Highway (Kathmandu-Pokhara).
The airport is being constructed with intention to provide regional, domestic and international passengers with additional flight services over the current airport to encourage tourism in the Pokhara region, which is one of the popular tourist destinations in Nepal.