Kathmandu, March 31
Nepal’s only international airport will remain closed for 10 hours every night for the next three months.
The TIA, which has been operating flights for 22 hours, will be shut during the night to carry out rehabilitation work on its runway. According to officials, the airport, from Monday, will be open from 8 am to 10 pm until June 30. Airport regulator CAAN is rehabilitating the runway for the first time in history.
TIA General Manager Rajkumar Chettri said that regular fights will not be affected due to the maintenance work as the airport had already informed all airlines about it. Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project Director Babu Ram Paudel said that the work will start from Monday and there will be no delays as the contractors have enough resources to complete the project on time. “We have also thought about risk management and trained these people accordingly,” added Paudel.
The first phase of the project will replace the 3000-metre-long runway after which parking bays will be prepared for the aircraft. Every night an 80-metre section of runway will be worked upon.
China’s state-owned enterprise China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation has been awarded the rehabilitation contract worth Rs 3.7 billion.
The 3,000-metre-long dilapidated runway will be rehabilitated as damaged pavement has frequently disrupted flights. Cracks started to emerge in 2014 on the runway. The rehabilitation project was originally planned to be implemented in 2014, but authorities put the project on hold until the construction of another international airport in Bhairahawa. But late tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari decided to set the project in motion taking into account the sensitiveness of the issue.