April 21, Lumbini: After 74 years of operation of Tribhuvan International Airport, another new international airport has come into operation in the country. The prestigious Gautam Buddha International Airport constructed in Bhairahawa (Rupendehi) as a project of national pride has come into operation today.
Engineer Pradip Adhikari, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, informed that the new runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport has been formally opened. He said, “The second international airport has come into operation properly. This is a milestone in the 74-year history of the civil aviation sector of Nepal.Special thanks to all those, directly and indirectly, involved in the project. ”He added.
The Director-General informed that the old 1,500-meter long runway of the airport has been closed and a new 3,000-meter long runway has been opened to the international side. Even though the runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport is operational from today, the international flight will start on the day of Buddha Jayanti in May according to NEA.
Domestic flights have been operated from the new runway from today. However, now the aircraft of foreign airlines will be able to land at Bhairahawa Airport in case of closure of Kathmandu Airport or any other emergency.
Bikram Gautam, co-coordinator of Operation Readiness and Airport Transport, informed that domestic flights have started from today at Gautam Buddha International Airport. He mentioned that all the flights will be operated from the new runway. He said, “Bhairahawa came into operation as an internal airport on July 4, 1958. Now we have announced that it has started as an international airport from today. ”
Narrowbody and widebody aircraft will land at Gautam Buddha Airport. A mechanical test flight (calibration flight) has been completed at this airport. The commercial operation of Gautam Buddha Airport, a project of national pride, is a new leap in the history of aviation in the country, said the concerned official.
Domestic airlines started flying as soon as the new runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport came into operation from today. According to NEA, the Gautam Buddha International Airport will be operated at the capacity of Tribhuvan International Airport.
Work on the airport, which began in early 2015 to be completed by December 2017, was halted due to negligence on the part of the contractor.The last time it was planned to be completed by March 2020, the airport came into commercial operation after about five years due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The airport was built by the Chinese construction company Northwest Civil Aviation Construction Group.According to NEA, about Rs, 11 billion has been spent in the first phase of the project, which was constructed with a concessional loan from the Asian Development Bank.Now the construction process of the second phase terminal building will be started soon.
It is believed that the pressure of the current Tribhuvan International Airport will be reduced when this airport with a total width of 45 meters and a length of 3,000 meters is brought into commercial operation.NEA is preparing to operate the international airport 24 hours a day to manage the increasing air pressure.