December 20, 2020 : Significant progress has been made in infrastructure development, upgrading and service strengthening of the country’s only Tribhuvan International Airport, which is the main gateway for international passengers.
During the last three years, the capacity of the international airport has been enhanced and the work of continuous strengthening of the airport has been going on to give a glimpse of the well-equipped airport of the international country through efficient manpower using the highest modern technology.
According to the progress report released by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) from February 2074 BS to December 2077 BS, the runway rehabilitation work of Tribhuvan International Airport using modern technology and materials was completed five months ahead of schedule. The international airport is open for 21-hour daily operation.
The airport has been renovated through the Air Transport Capacity Building Project under NEA. The airport was renovated by the Chinese construction company Agro Technology International Engineering Corporation.
In the first phase of the renovation, which had a construction agreement worth Rs. The airport was 3,050 meters long and 46 meters wide. Under the same project, the work of widening the runway for another 300 meters has been completed for the last time.
Four more large and two small jet aprons have been built at the airport. At the same time, the number of international parking lanes has reached 15, including remote parking. Work has also been completed to create a runway and safety area towards Runway Zerotu.
A new departure hall (sterile hall) has been constructed at the international airport. A baggage handling system has been installed at the internal terminal of the international airport. This has made it easier to take luggage of domestic passengers. Internationally, a central air conditioning system has been installed in the Terminal building.
According to Murari Bhandari, head of the Air Transport Capacity Building Project, further upgrading work is underway under the proposed master plan of the international airport. Necessary process has been started for the construction of new international and domestic terminal building of the existing airport. Project Bhandari said that work has been started to improve the retention of the master plan till 2028 BS on the basis of the current airport ship and passenger movement.
The airport was re-updated in 2009 and 2016. The master plan is upgraded every five years. According to the project, work is underway to upgrade the international airport by making a master plan for five years and another five years based on the number of flights and number of passengers.
Tender process has been started for the construction of taxiway parallel to the runway of the airport. A parking lot is being constructed on the north side of the airport to accommodate 22 small and large ships. There is also a plan to build a hangar area on the east side of the airport.
The work of beautification and decoration of the international airport has been taken forward according to the boutique concept. The Terminal building of the International Arrivals Hall is painted silicon. According to the boutique concept, the airport is undergoing renovation work inside the international and internal terminal building and construction of canopy structure.
Air passenger traffic in Nepal has more than doubled in the last 10 years. In 2018, the Tribhuvan International Airport handled about 7.2 million passengers. The maximum capacity of the airport seems to be 9 million at most. Experts estimate that this number will reach 2022 if the growth rate of air passengers remains the same.
Currently, the capacity of the airport has reached its maximum point and Bhairahawa and Pokhara Regional International Airports are under construction. Therefore, Nijgadh International Airport, the second international airport proposed in Bara with international standards, seems to be an option for speedy construction.
According to the latest CAN figures, the number of passengers arriving at the international airport has declined in the first nine months of 2020. The number of passengers till September is nine lakh 27 thousand 208. In 2019, it was 4.138 million 482 which was 4.6 percent more than the previous year.
As of September this year, the number of domestic passengers is seven lakh 87 thousand 40. In 2019, the number of passenger traffic is 3.188 million 487 which is 11.96 percent compared to the previous year. In 2018, the traffic was 2.847 million with an increase of 1.16 percent.
With the government declaring 2020 as the Nepal Tourism Year, a significant increase in foreign tourist arrivals is expected this year, CAN said. For international flights, 30 airlines including three Nepali and 27 foreign airlines are operating flights to 32 destinations in 15 countries, while nine fixed wing airlines and 10 helicopter airlines are operating domestic flights.