Bids invited for second phase of projectThe Gautam Buddha International Airport project in Bhairahawa has invited global bids for the implementation of the second phase which involves the installation of communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) and air traffic management (ATM) systems.
The Gautam Buddha International Airport project in Bhairahawa has invited global bids for the implementation of the second phase which involves the installation of communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) and air traffic management (ATM) systems.
The tender notice published on September 20 has given potential bidders 45 days to submit their technical and financial proposals.
The government plans to commence commercial operation of the airport by next August, but experts said that it would not happen due to delays in the implementation of the second phase.
Director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) Sanjiv Gautam said that the tender notice for the second phase had been issued with the aim of completing the project by next July. “The project has not been delayed. We are confident that the airport will be brought into operation by next August,” he said, adding that the airport’s runway would be opened for domestic flights by next March.
The airport will be equipped with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) which allows approaches and landings even in poor weather conditions. There are different standards of ILS, namely CAT I, CAT II and CAT III. Aircraft can land at the airport under the CAT I system when visibility is 550 metres, and aircraft can land at the airport in minimum visibility of 350 metres under CAT II.
Although Caan had planned to install CAT II initially, it dropped the idea due to the high cost. “We have decided to install the CAT I system for now. But it will be installed with a system that will allow us to immediately upgrade to CAT II,” said Gautam. Currently, the base of the 3,000-metre long and 45-metre wide runway has been prepared, and the blacktopping is expected to begin as soon as the monsoon ends, he said.
Caan awarded the Rs6.22-billion upgradation contract to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group in November 2013. The airport was initially slated to be ready by December 2017. However, fuel and building material shortages due to the months-long Tarai banda in 2015 delayed the upgradation works by six months, and its operation deadline was revised to June 2018.
Subsequently, a dispute over payment between the Chinese contractor and the Nepali sub-contractor (Northwest Infra Nepal) stalled works at the construction site for more than six months. As a result, the project deadline was extended many times after the initial extensions.
The latest deadline for the airport’s commercial operation is August 2019.