Kathmandu, November 6
The Gautam Buddha International Airport project is on the verge of missing its construction completion deadline for the third time.
Though the project is being developed with a target of completing all construction activities by December 31, Pradeep Adhikari, director at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, said completion of the project within the stipulated time is highly unlikely due to sporadic problems related to the supply of construction materials and customs-related issues.
Though construction work of the project has been going on uninterruptedly recently, the project has been witnessing sporadic problems regarding timely supply of construction materials and other equipment. There have also been some hassles in clearing the imported equipment for the project at the customs,” said Adhikari, adding that all these issues would ultimately contribute to deferring the project completion deadline of GBIA.
Previously, the project deadline was extended to December 31 from July. Prior to this, CAAN had already extended the deadline of GBIA twice. The upgradation of GBIA project was started in January 2015, with the initial target to complete it by December 2017.
However, the project witnessed problems related to supply of construction materials thereby affecting the project development repeatedly. But the project has witnessed notable progress in the last one year and both CAAN and project officials hope to complete construction of physical structures at GBIA by December.
“Among other projects, CAAN is giving due priority to complete GBIA. However, GBIA faces similar hurdles that other projects witness in the country which affects smooth development of the project,” added Adhikari.
According to CAAN, the under-construction GBIA project has achieved 80 per cent work progress so far. However, work related to physical structures and installing equipment and lights still remains to be completed. “Effective coordination between government agencies and other stakeholders will ensure quick completion of the project,” said Adhikari.
Meanwhile, CAAN has not given due priority to operation and management of GBIA though the project is nearing completion. Adhikari said CAAN’s first priority was to complete the project. “We will plan the operational and functional parts of the airport once the construction of the project is completed,” he added.
The government has yet to publish any notice on when the airport will actually come into operation and information related to coordination with international airline companies that want to fly to GBIA. So far, neither has CAAN urged any international airline company to conduct flights to GBIA once it starts operation nor has any foreign airline shown interest in flying to GBIA.
A version of this article appears in print on November 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.