Kavre’s Nagidanda Airport construction technically feasible, but a financial burden

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-KATHMANDU

The technical viability study draft report on research of possible ways for the construction of an airport at Nagidanda of Kavre district has been submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAA Nepal) as an alternative to the domestic section at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

According to Real Path Engineering Consultancy (RPEC), the consultant company that conducted the feasibility study, it has submitted the draft which shows that construction of an airport at Nagidanda is technically viable but financially not. The estimated cost for the construction of Nagidanda airport is approximately Seven Billion Nepalese Rupees, as per the initial survey. The company has also sought suggestions after the survey from the aviation regulatory body to prepare the final report, noted RPEC officials.

MoCTCA Minister Rabindra Adhikari has been prioritizing the construction of an alternative airport at Nagidanda, Kavre under his strategic plan. Earlier on May, the CAA Nepal had formed a technical study group (TSG) that comprises aviation experts to suggest the government on possible ways to address air traffic congestion at TIA. The study team also gave the report to the government that the construction of the airport at Nagidanda of Kavre could reduce the rate of air traffic congestion by 31 percent at TIA. As per the suggestion from the study group, CAA Nepal awarded the contract to conduct the feasibility study to RPEC.

As per the draft report submitted by the consultant company RPEC, the alternate domestic airport at Nagidanda will feature the runway alignment towards North to South direction. The airport can feature 21 parking bays that can accommodate small aircraft like Twin Otter and Y12e at a time but the airport will not be able to accommodate the medium-sized aircraft like ATR, MA60, Jetstream, and Bombardier.

Towards the infrastructure, NRs Four billion will be required for the construction of runway and drainage system, soil excavation and to build a security perimeter. Similarly, Rs 1.5 billion will be required for construction of the terminal building, control tower, airline offices, fire and security station, water tank, electricity transmission system, staff living quarters and cargo building out of NRs. Seven Billion, the report addressed.

Additionally, NRs 700 million has been estimated for construction of access roads, perimeter road, service area and parking area at the airport with furthermore NRs 800 million has been estimated for construction of other physical structures for the airport. The initial report has not included the land acquisition price.

Meanwhile, CAA Nepal is analyzing the feasibility report at present. According to Birendra Shrestha, Spokesperson for CAA Nepal stated that it will soon be finalized after adding inputs from CAAN.

For now, Pact Engineering Consultancy has also started to conduct the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the airport and will soon submit its report to CAAN.

The proposed airport location at Nagidanda is 24.6 km away from TIA whereas 8.62 far in the Nautical mile. Following severe congestion problem at TIA in recent years, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has planned to construct a new airport close to Kathmandu Valley and shift domestic flights that are operated from TIA in the long run.

The plan of constructing domestic airfield near TIA was started from 16 years ago but still has not been able to be in action. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has already initiated its preliminary study in both places for the construction of short takeoff and landing (STOL) airport: Nagidanda and Thulochour. The two places lie around 20 km and 35 km respectively in the southeast of Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The proposed sites are located at an elevation of 1,800 meters above sea level.

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