As scheduled, construction work to upgrade the Gautam Buddha Airport (GBA) into a regional international airport formally began on Thursday (January 15, 2014).
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala laid the foundation stone for the Bhairahawa-based airport amid a function in Butwal. Addressing at the event, he expressed his belief in Nepal being able to maintain balanced improvement in peace and prosperity in the country, “There are factors that still seem potent enough to disrupt the peace process in our nation. Therefore, I call on all the Nepalis to unite to take the country’s development further ahead.”
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.
PM Koirala urged the assigned construction company to pay special attention to maintaining the quality and standards of works in this present age of competition.
Noting that the Lumbini area is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and people of other religions alike, the Prime Minister highlighted the opportunity for the promotion of tourism with the construction of an international airport in a destination of such religious importance.
Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Deepak Chandra Amatya, expressed the confidence that the tourism development of the entire Lumbini region would pick up after the construction of the international airport.
A computer-generated design of the airport.
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.
According to Murari Bhandari, project director of GBA Extension Project, the airport will be complete by December, 2017.