The runway extension project of TIA remains unresolved

Posted on by Pinkey Rai

The contract agreement on the runway extension project of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has become uncertain as one of the partner of a Nepali joint venture became engulfed in a corruption case.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has been confused whether to award the contract to Kalika-Tundi or not. Although the Kalika construction and Tundi construction joint venture were selected for the Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project (ACEP), the final decision has not been made after the issue of corruption was filed against Former Minister Bikram Pandey.

The Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project was about to sign a contract worth nearly NRs. 1 Billion with Kalika-Tundi since the previous constructor, Shanxi Construction Engineering Group of China fled abandoning its performance bond.

Previously, CAAN terminated the contract with no-show Chinese contractor company Shanxi Construction Engineering Group who took the responsibility of 300m runway extension of TIA in August.

Shanxi Construction Engineering Group of China and CAAN had contracted to extend the runway of sole international airport of country by 300 meters at its southern end or runway 02 in last October. However, the company didn’t commence the work complaining about increment in prices of construct.

Authorities are analyzing the effect that can occur in the overall work of rehabilitating the runway due to the issue of Pandey. ‘We are studying whether there will be legal impact in the project if we sign contract,’ the source said.

TIA remains closed frequently these days following the repetitive cracks appeared in the runway due to which aircraft are compelled to hold in the sky creating a problem for the airline operators and airport management. New international airline operators have shown interest and applied for flight permissions to Nepal whereas domestic airlines are increasing their fleet in a competitive manner. This trend has pressurized TIA more which is now desperately in need of enhancement project to cater to the growing demand of airlines and passengers until other under construction international airports around the country come into operation.

CAAN had contracted Spanish company Constructora Sanjose for the same project but was ripped off in end of 2016 for performing only 17% of work in almost 4 years from the time of contract period. CAAN had invited bids in mid-2017 and broke the project into 4 packages and provided it to different contractor.

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Pinkey Rai