TIA achieved 60pc progress in projects last fiscal

Kathmandu, September 27

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) achieved 60 per cent progress in implementation of its projects in the last fiscal year. The low progress has been attributed to the impact of Turkish Airlines’ aircraft incident in March and earthquakes of April and May.

Of the total of Rs 3.2 billion allocated for last fiscal year 2014-15, TIA spent only 54 per cent and witnessed physical progress of 60 per cent. Addressing a programme today, Birendra Prasad Shrestha, acting general manager of TIA Civil Aviation Office said that the last fiscal year was a challenging one due to the huge air traffic pressure.

“Even though there has been comparatively less progress, we were able to handle big challenges like the Turkish Air incident and the huge number of flights that arrived during the relief operations after the earthquakes and during the SAARC Summit in November,” said Shrestha.

He added that flights were on occasions operated even for 24 hours to provide service.

As per TIA statistics, it witnessed flow of 3.25 million passengers in international service in 2014 which is more than double the projected number of 1.4 million passengers.

Shrestha said that due to the increase in passenger flow in both international and domestic airline service, it has become necessary to complete the development of the Bhairahawa airport to a Regional International Airport at the earliest. As per estimation, Bhairahawa airport can help reduce air traffic pressure of TIA by 20 per cent.

Basically, due to the impact of the earthquakes and huge increase in rescue and relief flights, TIA had witnessed historic air traffic congestion in the months of April and May. In a bid to increase the capacity of TIA, a project to improve the only runway of TIA is being implemented. Under this project, there is also a plan to increase parking area for aircraft.

Though the physical progress was not as anticipated, the government in the last fiscal year generated revenue of Rs 6.71 billion from TIA. Income from the airport has been increasing every year and the revenue earned in the last fiscal year was the highest annual income recorded.

As per Shrestha, they have been giving continuity to projects with a target to improve safety, security and facilities. For the current fiscal year, TIA has a budget of Rs 4.6 billion. Rehabilitation of runway and taxiway, installation of bird detecting radar, construction of parking bay, installation of central air conditioner and replacement of baggage handling system are some of the major plans for the current fiscal year.

There will be a new baggage handling system in operation within November, according to TIA officials. Meanwhile, the under-construction domestic terminal building of TIA is in the final stage. Shrestha said that there is a target to bring the building into operation by mid-October.