The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) is preparing to select a consulting firm to help it implement its project to rehabilitate the tattered runway of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Nine firms have submitted expressions of interest for the contract. Caan said that it was currently evaluating their proposals and would shortlist at least three of them in the next three weeks under the Public Procurement Act.
The main job of the consultant will be to help Caan
to supervise the construction and rehabilitation of the
runway and taxiways at TIA by providing assistance in management, procurement and supervision and
administration of the contract, said Caan.
According to Caan officials, global bids for the rehabilitation of the runway and
taxiway will be invited immediately after the consulting firm is selected.
On September 23, 2014, Caan had invited expressions of interest from potential international consultants
in association with national consultants. The deadline
for applying was December 7, 2014.
The proposed improvement works consist of rehabilitating the airport’s 3,050 x 60 metre runway and 1,950 x 23 metre parallel taxiway, exit taxiway pavement, drainage and airfield lighting including the runway centre line lights.
According to a report submitted recently by Ayesa Ingenieria of Spain which had been contracted to make an evaluation of the runway and taxiway at TIA, the runway is not strong enough to handle wide-body aircraft due to its ageing asphalt foundation, and distress is caused to the upper surface instantly when heavy jets land.
The damage to the lower asphalt layers is reflected quickly in the upper surface resulting in cracks and other damage to the runway.
The study report has suggested that the lower layers of the runway be dug up and the foundation repaved by removing damaged asphalt layers and substituting them with a new base and surface courses.
The total construction time of the project is 19 months which includes tendering, awarding the contract and construction work. However, the net construction time which is six hours in the night time for runway construction is four months. For taxiway construction, the report said that at least eight months would be required.
Repeated occurrences of cracks on the runway at the country’s sole international aerial gateway have been affecting smooth operation of aircraft since 2011. Scores of flights have had to be diverted or delayed in recent years due to problems in the runway. Trouble mainly occurs during the rainy season.
The report said that when compared to the core part of the runway between 2006 and 2013, damage to the intermediate layers was caused by the operation of large jets like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777.
In 2013, there were 1,000 operations of A330-300 aircraft, 955 of Boeing 777 and 452 of A330-200, and the numbers are expected to double in the next 20 years. Cracks first appeared on the runway in June 2011, and they have become a recurrent problem.