Refurbishment works at the Eastern airport in Saptari District; Rajbiraj Airport has been completed after a long time. Rajbiraj Airport, which was halted its operation for almost three decades due to poor condition of the runway is preparing to resume its services after Buddha Airs’ aircraft will conduct test flight to the airport on May 3rd.
According to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Project Coordinator Ramekwal Mahato, stated that the construction of runway, apron and taxi-way has already been accomplished. However, the repair of tower and terminal building, marking on the runway and drainage management are yet to be done. Almost all the work has been completed besides marking runway and setting up the tower.
There are a dozen of brick factories around the airport. The smoke coming out from those factories can cause problem in visibility. Mahato said that local government and the administration should be serious about removing brick factories.
The airport was inaugurated in 1959 A.D. by NC leader Late Ganeshman Singh but it has already been around four years that the airport is out of the operation. Previously, the airport used to conduct Lamidanda-Rajbiraj and Phaplu-Rajbiraj flights. After the completion, Rajbiraj Airport will conduct flights in Kathmandu- Rajbiraj and Rajbiraj-Biratnagar route.
On October 2016, the CAAN awarded the NRs 33 Million project to Raman Kanchha Ram Dev and Sayar JV Construction Company for the renovation and construction of the airport and the project was supposed to be accomplished in December 15, 2017 but the work was delayed due to flood, dense fog, and other reasons. As the company failed to complete the project by the stipulated time, the project was given an extra five months to finish. The total cost for the project was Rs303 million.
Though, the airport also has its dark side as there is no space available for the expansion of the airport.
“As the airport needs to create a buffer area in both ends of the runway, it needs an additional 22 bigas land,” said Mahato. The Tourism Ministry has allocated Rs520 million for this purpose, he said. However, the Finance Ministry has not released the fund and that has halted the land procurement process. “We will initiate the land procurement process as soon as the fund is released,” said Mahato.