Nepal’s one of the most prestigious multi-billion projects to make Bhairahawa Airport an international airport is most likely to be done by September 2019.
“As of now, the project has achieved 35 percent physical progress. We expect half of the tasks, or 50 percent physical progress, to be achieved by June-end,” said Sanjiv Gautam, Director General, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
Also known as Gautam Buddha Airport, this national pride project has missed several deadlines in the past and has been delayed for long due to various reasons.
With regard to this project, CAAN has allotted Rs 6.22 billion worth contract to a China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group to upgrade the airport in November 2013, and was expected to be ready by December 2017.
However, infrastructure delays dragged the project upgradation activity by more than six months and eventually, the deadline was revised to June 2018.
After all these, the project financer Asian Development Bank (ADB) has finally set June 2019 as the last deadline for the completion of this prestigious project.
We have not received an official confirmation, but based on the project’s progress, it looks like the ADB is also satisfied. An ADB team made a site inspection in Bhairahawa this week to review the project’s progress. The ADB is yet to submit a report,” informed Gautam.
Commenting on the project’s progress, Nepali Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari said, “The construction work is moving at a faster pace. Work has been moving ahead with the target of completing the project by 2019.”
According to the minister, the project was almost 10 percent complete as of 2017 and has achieved 31 percent completion by January 2018.
The new airport, upon completion, is expected to give the needed boost to the industrial activity in Bhairahawa and also facilitate international pilgrimage tourism to Lumbini, the world’s renowned tourist place 22km away from the Bhairahawa Airport.