Nepal | July 10, 2020

GBIA infrastructure to be ready by March

Arpana Ale Magar
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Kathmandu, January 14

After overcoming several hurdles and extending the completion deadline thrice, the Civil Aviation Office of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) has said that physical construction of the airport will be completed by March. However, when the most-awaited international airport of the country located in Bhairahawa will begin operations is another story.

According to Prabesh Adhikari, project chief of GBIA, it is not only about completing the construction of physical infrastructure, there are other technical issues like recruitment of human resources and other general requirements of the airport that are also important and need to be addressed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCT- CA) before the airport can commence operations.

“We have been informed that the ministry is working on making all the necessary arrangements,” he added.

He further said that MoCTCA is responsible for recruitment of human resources, establishing offices and managing facilities for passengers at the airport.

Meanwhile, MoCTCA has also claimed that it has hastened the work to bring the airport into operation as soon as possible.

“We are frequently having discussions with the concerned authorities and we have also directed them to do the needful for smooth operation of international flights at GBIA,” said Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at MoCTCA.

He further mentioned that MoCT- CA has requested the Department of Immigration, Nepal Oil Corporation, security bodies, Department of Customs, Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre and other concerned authorities to come up with plans for setting up offices and deploying human resources at GBIA.

According to Acharya, only Nepal Police has submitted its proposal at MoCTCA so far. “We hope to receive the plans of other authorities as well within a month,” he stated, further claiming the ministry will complete its assigned tasks by the time the infrastructure of the airport is ready.

However, Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, another joint secretary at MoCTCA, admitted there are challenges in bringing the GBIA into operation in the near future. “The pace of works has accelerated in recent days, which is a good sign,” he said, adding that commencing airport operation ‘is not as easy as we had assumed earlier’.

Giving an update on the construction of physical infrastructure at GBIA, Project Chief Adhikari informed that major construction works like that of runway, terminal building, administration building, control tower, and taxiway and parking bay have been completed so far.

After completion of the infrastructural work (ICB 01), the second phase of the project that involves installing the equipment (ICB 02) is ongoing at present, he added.

“A few minor issues such as interior works, installation of required equipment and lighting systems are underway at the moment,” he said. “Works related to the interior decor of several offices likes immigration and customs are also ongoing.”

As per Adhikari, the concerned authorities have already conducted field visits of the airport several times.

Recently the government also signed a government-to-government pact with the German government to operate GBIA in cooperation with Munich International Airport.


A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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