KATHMANDU: The Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa will be operative in three months, said Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale.
Inaugurating the 23rd anniversary of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) here Friday, Minister Ale confirmed that the under-construction Gautam Buddha Airport would be in operation by conducting calibration flight.
Ale said, “We are ready to inaugurate the Gautam Buddha International Airport. Talks are ongoing with the Aviation Minister of India regarding the air routes. They are positive about it. I believe this process will come to a conclusion soon.”
The Gautam Buddha International Airport has achieved 98.76 per cent physical progress, the CAAN said.
The Minister shared that he had already instructed the leadership in the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to take forward the procurement process for at least 14 aicrafts.
He also informed that he had urged the leadership there to fly the grounded aircrafts after repair and maintenance. Furthermore, the Minister instructed the CAAN to work towards creating enabling environment for the Corporation to fly its aircrafts in the European Union’s skies and removing Nepal from the European Union’s blacklist.
Also speaking in the event, CAAN Director-General Raj Kumar Chhetri said that preparation was underway to conduct calibration flight at the Gautam Buddha International Airport within January 2022.
He admitted that the calibration flight related matters were stagnant on the part of CAAN.
“Now that the Aerothai of Thailand, which was granted permission for the calibration flight, has already inspected the under-construction Airport, the calibration flight will be tested within January 2022.”
The Pokhara Regional International Airport has also seen 98 per cent physical progress and is slated to be inaugurated within eight months.
Likewise, master plan related to the Nijgadh International Airport has also achieved 80 per cent completion. The Province Forest Division Office is counting trees in the proposed airport site, the CAAN said.
Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Maheshwor Neupane assured that the Ministry would coordinate to practically address the serious concerns raised by the CAAN.
The two under-deliberation bills related to CAAN would also incorporate the concerns of the CAAN employees. The bills aiming to establish CAAN as a regulatory and service-provider agency has been endorsed by the National Assembly and is in the process to be tabled in the House of Representatives.
NAC’s Executive Chairman Yuwaraj Adhikari lauded the efforts and development in the later days to enhance the image of NAC.
CAAN Employees Union’s representatives Laxman Kumar Giri opined that the bills related to CAAN should be taken forward, addressing the grievances of the staffers.
Meanwhile, the number of air passengers has increased despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tribhuvan International Airport recorded 1,280,212 passengers arrival as of November this fiscal year 2021/22, a 19 per cent increase since the same period last year.
In the domestic flight, 3,116,675 passengers arrived at domestic terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport as of November this fiscal year 2021/22, a 113 per cent increase from the corresponding year.