The proposals of four Chinese and two Spanish construction firms have been selected for financial evaluation for the upgradation of Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa. The airport is the gateway to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in the country’s western Tarai plains, and it is being enlarged into a regional international airport .
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has invited the short listed firms to its headquarters on Monday to officially open their financial proposals or bids for the project. The financial proposals will determine the successful bidder for the $ 97.21 million contract.
The six short listed firms are China Harbour Engineering Company, Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Company, Sinohydro Corporation and China Overseas Engineering Group Company from China, a Nepali-Spanish JV Sanjose-Kalika and Isolux-Corsan of Spain. On Feb 26, Caan had received seven confirmed bids from among the 37 firms that obtained the bid documents. Caan evaluated the technical bids and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the financer to the project, reviewed them further.
Out of total project cost, ADB will be providing $ 58.50 million (a $ 42.75 loan and a $ 15.75 million grant), the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) will be giving a $ 15 million loan and Caan will be bearing the rest as counterpart funding.
“After opening the financial bids, it will take at least 10 days for Caan to evaluate the documents and they will be sent to the ADB for further review before the contract is awarded to the successful bidder,” said Murari Bhandari, chief of the project. An agreement will be signed with the successful bidder after negotiations are held probably by September, he added.
The government plans to complete the project by June 30, 2017. The planned airport with a 3,000-metre runway will be able to serve 760,000 passengers annually by 2030.
In the second phase which will commence after 10 years, the airport is projected to handle up to 2 million passengers. After the airport is complete, it will be able to handle up to 6 million passengers annually. The airport will have six international parking bays.
Caan had invited bids on Nov 28, 2013, for the construction of airside and landside infrastructure and other facilities of the airport , but had extended the deadline twice due to lack of resources.
The airport is termed one of the most viable projects due its potential to draw a large number of Buddhist pilgrims to Lumbini.
It will also serve as an alternative to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), already strained due to heavy traffic.