Caan approves budget of Rs43.6 billion, finallyThe board of directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) finally approved a budget of Rs43.6 billion for fiscal year 2017-18 on Friday. The budget was endorsed after over four months into the financial year due to a bitter boardroom battle. This delay is expected to affect project execution.
The board of directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) finally approved a budget of Rs43.6 billion for fiscal year 2017-18 on Friday. The budget was endorsed after over four months into the financial year due to a bitter boardroom battle. This delay is expected to affect project execution.
Caan Spokesperson Birendra Prasad Shrestha said budget would be released for different sectors by next week. “But some of the programmes and projects may have to be carried over into the next fiscal year due to delay in budget approval,” Shrestha added.
The Caan was unable to approve its budget for the current fiscal year on time due to tussle between Tourism Minister Jitendra Narayan Dev, who is the chair of the Caan board, and Caan Director General Sanjiv Gautam. The minister had made multiple attempts to replace Gautam with a new chief before passing the annual budget.
Of the total budget allotted for the Caan this year, Rs19 billion is in the form of government’s share investment in the institution.
According to Shrestha, the budget will be used to roll out a number of new projects this year. A new helipad that can accommodate 30 choppers will be built on the eastern side of the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. The Caan plans to convert the existing helipad at TIA into parking bays for domestic aircraft. Similarly, helipads would be expanded in Nepalgunj, Simikot and Lukla this year.
Likewise, fund has been allocated to expand the length of taxiway from the southern tip of Runway 02 approach point at TIA. As the 02 approach point in Koteshwor is not connected with the taxiway, aircraft require extra time to park after landing. The new connection will save at least 8-10 minutes, allowing another aircraft to land, Shrestha said.
The Caan also plans to procure mobile air traffic control (ATC) tower this fiscal year for use during emergency situations. A budget of Rs120 million has been earmarked for this purpose. Mobile tower systems have a proven track record of operating under extreme environmental conditions with high reliability and operational flexibility. “We can use mobile towers during emergencies like earthquakes,” Shrestha said, adding, “The need for mobile tower was felt since 2015 earthquake when controllers expressed reluctance to work inside tall towers due to frequent aftershocks that heightened the feeling of insecurity.”
Bharatpur and Janakpur airports will also be equipped with precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights that guide pilots to approach airfields; and solar systems will be installed in a number of airports in remote areas. Among others, runway lights in Nepalgunj airport will be replaced and VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and distance measuring equipment (DME) would be installed in Dhangadhi and Chandragadi airports this year to modernise the airport’s navigational equipment, Shrestha said. The VOR/DME refers to combined radio navigation station for aircraft, which consists of two radio beacons placed together.
Also, continuity would be given to ongoing projects. Some of the ongoing projects are: $28-million rehabilitation project to improve the 3,050-metre runway at TIA and
construction of remote parking bays for international airlines.
The Caan is also planning to launch the second package of the Gautam Buddha Airport Project in Bhairahawa next February. The second package involves installation of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (ANS) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems.