Blacktopping work of GBIA runway starts

Kathmandu, October 30

Works related to the blacktopping of the runway of the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) — a national pride project — in Bhairahawa have started from today. The Chinese contractor company, China Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group, has started blacktopping the 3,000-metre-long and 60-metre-wide runway.

The Chinese contractor company has been given a deadline to complete all works related to the upgradation of the international airport by August next year. Speaking in a programme organised at the project site today, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, said that the progress of the construction works of the airport has been satisfactory and will be completed within the scheduled timeframe, reads a press note released by the secretariat of the minister.

All works related to blacktopping the runway of the Gautam Buddha International Airport will be finished within the next six months. After the upgradation is completed, the airport will be able to handle large-size aircraft like the Airbus 330-200 and Boeing 777. Meanwhile, airport will have four parking bays for large-size aircraft and eight for small-size planes.

The parking bays of the airport have already been constructed and construction of overhead tank, control tower, runway, international terminal and administrative building is in the final phase.

Minister Adhikari has claimed that the Gautam Buddha International Airport will be open to international flights within the next six months. He added that the most difficult tasks that also require more human resources have reached the final phase and other tasks are also being carried out quickly.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has estimated that it will cost around Rs 6.5 billion to construct the core area of the airport. However, after taking the compensation that needs to be paid for the land acquisition process into account, the actual cost will likely reach Rs 24 billion.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to provide grant and soft loan to build the airport. Out of the total Rs 6.5 billion that is estimated to construct the core area of the airport, 58.5 per cent of the cost will be financed by ADB of which 40 per cent will be provided as loan and 18.5 per cent as grant. The ADB has also pledged to manage another 30 per cent of the cost through other international development partners and the government will bear the remaining cost of the project.