Rs5 billion international terminal to be built at Bhairahawa airportOfficials say the construction of the project is likely to start by 2020.
The terminal currently being built has been deemed too small for an international terminal, and will be repurposed for domestic flights. The 15,000-square metre building, which is in the final stage of completion, has only six parking bays and lacks an aerobridge.
“The Asian Development Bank is positive about providing additional financing for T2, the international terminal,” said Prabesh Adhikari, chief of the project. “Last week, a bank mission visited Bhairahawa and took stock of the project.”
He said that the T2 project could cost Rs5 billion, and the project may begin by 2020. “We are at the final stage of appointing a consultant who will prepare the design of the building and prepare the tendering documents,” said Adhikari. “After that, the actual cost of the project will be ascertained.”
An Asian Development Bank official told the Post that the government had requested the bank for additional financing, and the multilateral funding agency has considered the request positively. “It’s a project for 2020 which the bank has been considering under the Nepal government’s request,” said the official who wished to remain anonymous.
The idea of constructing a bigger terminal building was originally floated by the Finance Ministry following concerns that the current terminal, which is nearing completion, may not be large enough to accommodate forecasted passenger traffic growth.
T2 is expected to be 35,000 square metres in area, nearly as large as the terminal at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. The proposed new building will have at least 10 parking bays and be fitted with aerobridges.
Severe congestion at Tribhuvan International Airport, which has only nine parking bays, prompted the ministry to ask the project to develop a bigger facility, officials said.
Overcrowding at Kathmandu’s airport is becoming worse by the day as airlines are aggressively expanding their fleets in response to growing air travel demand in the country.
The national pride project in Bhairahawa has been envisaged to serve the fast-rising business and industrial hub of Bhairahawa and facilitate international pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
The much-delayed airport project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. The project plans to open the airport’s 3,000-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway for test flights by March 2020.
The civil works contract worth Rs6.22 billion was awarded to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group in November 2013. The airport was initially slated to be ready by December 2017.
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.