Kathmandu, January 23
A sub-committee of the International Relations Committee of the Federal Parliament has recommended that the government not spend millions of rupees to build an airport in Nagidanda of Kavrepalanchowk district, stating the site is not feasible to operate flights.
The sub-committee led by former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said in a report that millions of rupees will go to waste if the proposed facility, touted as the alternative for aircraft flying in and out of the domestic terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport, is built.
“Nagidanda airport project is not viable, both economically and commercially,” said Nepal, adding, “We recommend that the government expedite construction of Nijgadh International Airport. Once that airport is built, Tribhuvan International Airport can be converted into domestic airport.”
The cost of the proposed Nagidanda airport hovers around Rs 11 billion. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has allocated Rs 250 million to carry out initial works at the proposed airport site in this fiscal year.
The plan to build an airport in Nagidanda was floated after the problem of air traffic congestion started worsening at TIA.
Last May, a technical study group formed to suggest ways to address TIA’s air traffic congestion recommended that an airport be built in Nagidanda for smaller aircraft flying on domestic routes.
The report had, however, said issues like metrological condition (wind and visibility) at Nagidanda, instrument flight procedure, air traffic management procedure and air safety must be addressed at the very beginning of the project cycle. It had also suggested that issues like very short aerial distance between Kathmandu and Nagidanda, which stands at 8.5 nautical miles, could emerge as problems for aircraft flying in and out of the proposed airport.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari had also supported plans to build an airport close to Kathmandu valley to operate domestic flights in a bid to reduce air traffic congestion at TIA. The new airport in Nagidanda, it was said, would also help the government to shift helicopter operation from TIA.
A version of this article appears in print on January 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.