GBIA deadline extended till December

Kathmandu, July 14

The government has extended project completion deadline of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) for the third time to December.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) — the aviation sector regulator — said that the project deadline was extended following the inability of the contractor to complete the project within the previously set deadline of June.

Earlier, the Chinese contractor company — Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Company — had sought an extension to the completion deadline of GBIA by six months. Following this, the GBIA had submitted the proposal for deadline extension to CAAN a few weeks ago.

The upgradation of GBIA was started in January 2015, with a target to complete it by December 2017.

However, the conflict between contractors, the Tarai-Madhesh movement after the earthquake of 2015 and lack of construction materials were cited as some of the reasons hindering construction of GBIA. Consequently, the completion deadline was extended to June 2018.

The project has been divided into two phases — ICB 01 that includes infrastructural work and ICB 02 that includes installing the equipment.

As per GBIA Project Chief Prabesh Adhikari, the second phase of the construction — ICB 02 — is still to begin, which is why the contractor has asked for deadline extension.

“However, we have almost completed the ICB 01 part and will soon begin the ICB 02 section,” he said.

Adhikari mentioned that it will take at least six months to complete the work of ICB 02. “The process of selecting the company to purchase equipment for communication navigation and surveillance system has already begun,” he said, adding, “Thus, we have proposed to extend the deadline.”

Towards ICB 01, installation of lights and marking on the runway, taxiway and apron are underway.

Although the completion deadline has been extended, the investment amount will be the same — Rs seven billion. GBIA is expected to play a major role in making the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign a success.

Meanwhile, the frequent delay in completion of the project has worried investors across the Bhairahawa region, especially hoteliers. They have said that the delay has added a huge financial burden on them and further delays could lead many of them to bankruptcy.

“Though investors have injected billions of rupees in setting up new hotels targeting the GBIA project and tourism in Bhairahawa and Lumbini areas, frequent delays in project completion has worried us,” said Pawan Halway, managing director of Pawan Group of Hotels.

“There are many investors like me who have injected billions in star hotels and while some of these facilities are ready to serve tourists, a majority of them are nearing completion. Investors are finding it difficult even to pay bank interests,” said Halway.