Gautam Buddha International Airport has completed 93 percent of physical infrastructure. Airport management is also waiting to facilitate the installation of different technical equipment by a tech person.
The new international airlines are awaiting for 3,000 meters of runway. The eight-story control tower has already been built, including administration offices, international terminal offices, taxi-ways, aircraft parking aprons, fire buildings, and an Aviation fuel depot. These appealing physical structures give the appearance of waiting for visitors, including international aircraft. “If COVID-19 had never disrupted worldwide, the construction would now have accomplished, making it suitable for international flights,” Yogesh Bhattarai, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said after inspecting the airport.
He said the required equipment for the airport construction had to be imported from abroad, as it is not accessible in Nepal. He said initiating the bringing of equipment technicians from China, the US, Austria, and Thailand has already begun.
The project site also hires more than 250 employees, including 26 Chinese workers. Electrical work is ongoing to connect equipment, physical facilities painting, development of a 10 km long boundary road from around the runway, drinking water, planting, and embellishment maintenance. The adverse timing of COVID-19 forced the building work to slow down slightly, but the building never stopped. By following safety precautions, the building work has been started. The team states that even after the lockdown, four and a half percent of the job was completed.
The project has also come to a standstill, along with the corona outbreak. Since all the industries, transportation, and airports were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese employees who went home from the project site to celebrate the Chinese New Year could not return. The Chinese contractor firm’s equipment that was to be provided for the project could not come from China. COVID outbreaks have expanded worldwide, affecting international travel to all countries, forcing equipment and foreign technicians to face difficulties.
Chief of the Gautam Buddha International Airport Project Prabesh Adhikari said that much equipment from foreign countries has already arrived at the project site, and only a small amount is on the way. He said technicians would join soon on installation work from abroad. “The project’s major physical structures have already been completed,” he said.
The project’s progress is currently 93 percent, and the progress will increase by 5 percent with the installation of equipment, he said. Finishing, decoration, and design of offices in the terminal building will be the remaining 2 percent. The Chinese contractor, Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Company, has entered into an international contract for the airport’s physical construction.
The contract for the air traffic, communications, and weather management equipment for the project has been awarded to Thailand’s Aero Thai Company by International Bid. According to the project, just 5 percent of the equipment is on its way from China via Kerung. Equipment from the sea route has also arrived at the port of Kolkata. The lights used in the apron arrive from Lhasa with X-ray machines. The baggage handling system (conveyor belt) and the runway lights linked to the terminal building will arrive from the sea route.
Ninety-eight percent of the machinery at the building site has already arrived. The chief of the project said a diplomatic initiative is being taken to get the equipment assembled by 35 technicians from China.