Construction work to upgrade the Gautam Buddha Airport (GBA) into a regional international airport is formally beginning Thursday.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is scheduled to lay the foundation stone for the Bhairahawa-based airport amid a function on Thursday morning.
“Construction work will begin with the laying of the foundation stone. The airport will be ready within three years i.e. by December, 2017,” Murari Bhandari, project director of GBA Extension Project, said.
Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group of China had bagged the airport project in October, after quoting the lowest amount. Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, director general of CAAN and Zhou Zun, general manager of Northwest´s Overseas Department had signed the contract worth Rs 6.22 billion in November.
The Chinese company will construct a 3,000-meter runway. After the completion of construction work in the first phase, the airport will be able to serve 760,000 passengers annually. After the beginning of the second phase after 10 years, the airport will be able to serve 2 million passengers a year. It will accommodate 6 million passengers annually after all construction work is completed.
The Chinese contractor will build new runway, exit and parallel taxiway with flexible pavements, new international aircraft parking apron with rigid pavements, drainage system parallel to the runway, taxiway, and diversion of the Ghaghara Khola river along with airport boundary, internal and external periphery roads, airport access road, CFR access road, fuel farm access road, cargo access road, and security chain link fencing.
As per the contract, the Chinese firm also needs to rehabilitate existing runway for conversion to parallel taxiway with flexible pavements, construct new international passenger terminal building, operation/control tower, administrative block, air cargo and maintenance building, crash fire rescue building, and main sub-station building. Similarly, the contractor also needs to construct other ancillary buildings such as guard house, security posts, and maintenance building.
Similarly, it is required to lay down water supply lines, build sewage drainage system, install runway and taxiway lights, approach lights, Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), apron floodlights, and arrange generators for power supply. Though the first phase works were originally planned to start by the end of 2011, it did not materialize due to resource constraints.
The project will be financed under US$ 42.75 million loan and $15.75 million grant from the Asian Development Bank under the South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project (SATIDP). The OPEC Fund for International Development will also provide a loan worth $15 million, while the government will arrange the shortfall.