AAI interested to support airport infrastructure development


Indian airport authority has shown interest to support Nepal government in development of the airport infrastructure of the country. Officials of Airport Authority of India (AAI), led by its Executive Director HS Suresh, are in Nepal at present to explore the possible areas for assistance.

The team today held separate meetings with Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa, director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and general manager of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to discuss various matters.

In the meeting with Sherpa, the team discussed about Second International Airport (SIA), TIA improvement and Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Road.

Suresh was flanked by two other technical officials from AAI and two officials from Indian Embassy in Nepal. India has also been showing interest in developing SIA and improving the TIA. However, Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) said that there had been no specific discussion on such issues.

On Tuesday, the team is scheduled to visit the site of the planned SIA. During the meeting with Birendra Prasad Shrestha, general manager of TIA, the visiting team had discussed about improving capacity of the TIA and possible support of AAI.

“As the current provision allows aircraft coming from India to land in TIA only from Simara side, I have requested the team to look into other alternatives,” said Shrestha.

Both the countries have also been considering air route restructuring. However, the visit is said to have focused more on airport infrastructure.

The government has been planning to construct the SIA, which is expected to reduce congestion being faced by TIA and boost air connectivity with international markets. The airport will have capacity to handle 15 million passengers annually after completion of first phase, which is estimated to cost $650 million.

Meanwhile, a committee formed to investigate a Turkish Airlines plane skidding off the runway has submitted its report to the MoCTCA. Today, the committee handed over a draft of the report to Minister Sherpa, according to Lamichhane, who was member secretary of the committee.

“The draft report will be sent to France, Turkey and Singapore for feedback as per a provision of International Civil Aviation Organisation, before making it public,” said Lamichhane.

After the Turkish Airlines aircraft had skidded off the runway on March 4, the government had formed a four-member investigation team under the coordination of former tourism secretary Nagendra Ghimire.