Kathmandu, May 25
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has assured that the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) will be transformed into a boutique airport by October.
The ministry has been collaborating with the Visit Nepal Year 2020 committee to upgrade the TIA into a boutique airport.
“The country’s sole international airport will now be introduced as a boutique airport where air travellers will get the opportunity to experience Nepali culture,” said Tourism Secretary Mohan Krishna Sapkota.
He further said that almost all the works are now in the final phase and by October the government will declare TIA as a boutique airport. As per Sapkota, the ministry has allocated Rs 240 million for the related works.
“We have completed all the preliminary works and have also called for tenders for installation of canopy on the premises of the airport, to build a garden and a children’s playground and for expansion of the domestic airport,” said Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA.
According to Chhetri, TIA will award the tenders for the aforementioned works within a month. After that, the airport will be registered as a boutique airport in the next six months.
“Our major objective is to make TIA aesthetically presentable, where foreigners can feel a real Nepal after entering the airport,” he said.
“And Nepalis can feel that they are at home.”
TIA has now been adorned with traditional wooden doors and windows and statues of Gautam Buddha, the famed one-horned rhino and red panda. Paintings that reflect cultural and historical stories of the country have also been installed in the airport, as per Chhetri.
“We cannot expand TIA, but what we can do is present the airport in a different manner, which we are trying to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chhetri added that the air congestion that TIA has been facing in recent times due to the runway upgradation work will be resolved soon, as runway rehabilitation works will be completed by the scheduled time on June 30.
Besides, the airport will also be converted into an advertisement-free zone within a few months. The TIA management has plans to add more than 50 wi-fi access points, especially in the waiting, departure and arrival areas, to facilitate internet access in the terminal. Travellers will be able to avail free and unlimited internet access thereafter.
Moreover, TIA also has plans to add one civil service point, where travellers who need services related to passport, visa or orientation will be provided so.
According to Chhetri, they have already managed the parking problem at TIA. The authorities have also planned to add a small playground area for children, and an entertainment and relaxation area.
A version of this article appears in print on May 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.