CAAN plans to invest Rs 335bn over five years

Kathmandu, February 5

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has said it will invest Rs 335 billion for the construction of infrastructure in the aviation sector over the period of five years.

According to Pradeep Adhikari, director of CAAN, the authority plans to spend Rs 250 billion for international aviation infrastructure and its related land acquisition. Out of the amount, the government will spend Rs 150 billion for the first phase of construction work at Nijgadh International Airport (NIA). Similarly, the authority plans to spend the remaining amount for full fledged operation of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) and Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA).

For the purpose of land acquisition for the international airports, CAAN plans to spend Rs five billion.

As per CAAN, Rs 46 billion will be spent for the construction of domestic airports. The amount will be spent to transform Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Mahendranagar airports into regional airports within five years.

The aviation authority had already developed a master plan for the four aforementioned domestic airports.

According to Rajan Pokharel, director general of CAAN, the construction work will be carried out by acquiring the necessary land simultaneously. The land acquisition cost for the domestic airports has been estimated at Rs 34 billion.

CAAN had invested Rs 89 billion in air infrastructure in the past two years. A large amount of that money was spent on land acquisition worth Rs 33 billion and the remaining Rs 49 billion was spent for the construction of infrastructure of the international airports.

As per the authority, it spent Rs one billion for land acquisition and Rs six billion for construction works of various domestic airports across Nepal in the aforementioned period.

“We are planning to increase the capacity and upgrade the airports located in the Tarai region so that Airbus and Boeing aircraft will able to land and take off from there,” said Pokharel, adding the airports in the mountainous and hilly regions — where only twin otters are being operated currently — will also be upgraded so that they can accommodate at least 40-seater aircraft.

Meanwhile, in the press briefing programme today, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai claimed that NIA will be operational within the next five years.

“The government is serious about bringing the airport into operation at any cost.”

Minister Bhattarai said that along with TIA’s expansion, construction of PRIA, GBIA and NIA will be completed within five years. “We plan to increase annual tourist arrivals to 10 million by next five years and we need to complete the construction all the aforesaid airports to handle such a large numbers of foreign visitors.”