Pokhara's new international airport to be equipped with wide area multilaterationThe system provides performance that is comparable to secondary surveillance radar in terms of accuracy and reliability.
The under-construction Pokhara international airport will be equipped with wide area multilateration, a ground-based surveillance system that can be installed in areas where radar coverage is limited or not possible, according to a project official.
Pradip Adhikari, chief of National Pride Projects at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal who also oversees Pokhara international airport, said they had decided to install wide area multilateration which provides performance that is comparable to secondary surveillance radar in terms of accuracy and reliability.
“As Pokhara is located in a valley, it needs a surveillance technique that is accurate and reliable,” said Adhikari. Wide area multilateration can be installed in mountainous terrain, and it costs less than secondary surveillance radar.
According to Adhikari, construction work on the new airport is half finished, and builders are on track to complete it by 2020-end, six months ahead of schedule.
The runway, taxiway and main terminal building are ready. The project is likely to enter the second phase—which consists of installing navigation and communication equipment—soon, said Adhikari.
“Everything is on the right track. We expect to complete the project way ahead of its completion deadline which is on July 10, 2021,” said Adhikari. The airport project is also the top achiever among 21 development projects which are designated as national pride projects.
The runway at the airport is 2,500 metres long and 45 metres wide, and has a rigid pavement, the first of its kind in Nepal. A runway with a rigid pavement will not need to be repaired for at least 25 years.
Last March, workers completed building the apron where aircraft will be parked. It is spread over an area of 5,519 square metres. The runway will be able to handle medium-range commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Boeing 757.
The airport will have a 1,200-metre-long and 23-metre-wide taxiway connecting the runway with the parking bays, hangars and terminals. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid the foundation stone for the airport on April 13, 2016.
The main international terminal building has a capacity to handle 650 passengers per hour. The airport will have three parking bays for A320-type jets with aerobridge facility and five parking bays for ATR-type aircraft. There will be a separate terminal and parking bay for domestic flights.
As per the agreement, the contractor is required to hand over the project to the government on July 10, 2021. The new airport is located at Chinnedanda, 3 km east of the existing domestic airport. The facility coming up at the tourist and commercial hub of Pokhara will serve as the aerial gateway to the Annapurna region, one of Nepal’s major trekking destinations.
China CAMC Engineering won the construction contract for the project in May 2014. The government signed a $215.96 million soft loan agreement with China EXIM Bank in March 2016 to finance the construction of the airport.
As per the agreement, 25 percent of the loan from China EXIM Bank is interest-free. The interest on the rest of the loan has been fixed at 2 percent per annum. The loan repayment period has been fixed at 20 years, including a grace period of seven years when no interest will be charged. The government will bear any risk from fluctuations in the foreign exchange rate.
The airport is being built under the engineering procurement and construction model. Under this model, a single contractor takes responsibility for all components like design, engineering, construction and procurement. The contract binds the contractor to deliver the project at the stipulated time and at the predetermined price regardless of any possible cost overruns.