Nagidanda airport technically feasible, but financially unviable

Kathmandu, October 5

The consultant company has submitted its draft report of the feasibility study regarding the construction of an airport at Nagidanda of Kavre district to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

According to Real Path Engineering Consultancy (RPEC) that conducted the feasibility study, it has submitted the draft which shows that construction of an airport at Nagidanda is technically viable but financially not feasible. Its initial study also reveals that the estimated cost to construct the airport stands at Rs seven billion.

As per Gurudutta Adhikari, chief executive officer of RPEC, the draft report has been submitted to CAAN and the company has sought suggestions from the aviation regulatory body to prepare the final report.

CAAN had formed a technical study group (TSG) in May to suggest the government on possible ways to address air traffic congestion at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The TSG had recommended the construction of a domestic airport in Nagidanda of Kavre as an alternative to the domestic section at TIA.

As per the suggestion of the study group, CAAN had awarded the contract to conduct the feasibility study to RPEC.

The report submitted by RPEC has suggested building the domestic airport at Nagidanda with the alignment of the runway facing the north to south direction. As per the report, it is possible to construct a parking bay that can handle 21 small aircraft like Twin Otter and Y12e at a time. As per the initial draft, Nagidanda will not be able to handle medium-sized aircraft like the ATR, MA60 and Bombardier.

Of the Rs seven billion estimated to construct the airport, the report says that Rs four billion will be required for construction of runway and drainage system, soil excavation and to build a security perimeter. Likewise, Rs 1.5 billion will be required for construction of terminal building, control tower, airline offices, fire and security station, water tank, electricity transmission system, staff living quarters and cargo building.

Moreover, Rs 700 million has been estimated for construction of access roads, perimeter road, service area and parking area. A further Rs 800 million has been estimated for construction of other physical structures for the airport.

According to Adhikari, the report had not included the land acquisition price.

Meanwhile, CAAN has said that they are examining the feasibility report at present. According to Birendra Shrestha, spokesperson for CAAN, the regulatory body is currently studying the feasibility report and it will soon be finalised after adding inputs from CAAN.

In the meantime, Pact Engineering Consultancy has also started to conduct the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the airport and will soon submit its report to CAAN.

As per Avishek BC, executive director of Pact Engineering, they will soon finalise the draft of the EIA and submit the report to CAAN.

Following heavy congestion at TIA in recent years, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has plans to construct a new airport close to Kathmandu Valley and shift domestic flight operations from TIA in the long run.

The report further states that the airport in Nagidanda will help reduce the air traffic congestion that has become a frequent phenomenon at TIA.