Pokhara International Airport: Preparations to start domestic flights from January 2022 A.D
Preparations are underway to bring Pokhara Regional Airport into operation from January 1. The task force formed to prepare for the transfer and operation of the airport has recommended the Civil Aviation Authority to open the flight from January 1, said Bikram Gautam, coordinator of the task force.
Gautam, who is also the head of Pokhara Airport, said that the task force had recommended to start only domestic flights at the beginning and international flights only after April. He also said that an ambitious plan has been put forward to operate the airport within the next three months.”I have recommended to start the flight from January 1, 2022. At that time, at least domestic flights should be operated from this airport, ‘said Gautam.
Coordinator Gautam informed the team including the Gandaki Chief Minister who visited Pokhara Regional Airport on Wednesday that they were preparing to operate domestic flights and also start external flights within a year. “Hopefully, we will be able to operate international flights by managing international standards with security and facilities,” he said.
The project says that Rithepani Danda in the eastern part is the main problem for international standard flights. The hill has not been cut down as the survey office and the forest office have not prepared the data of the trees for the felling of the hill. Similarly, the project has been warning that there will be ‘Bird Hazard’ in future flights as the Pokhara Metropolitan City has not found an alternative to the sanitary landfill site near the airport under construction.
Gautam said that the launch of domestic flights would make the preparation of international flights easier and would not hamper the construction of the airport. ‘Domestic flights do not have a problem with crossing the Rithepani hill. It means that we can move forward by solving the remaining problems as well, ”said Gautam.
He said that the airport will be operated keeping in mind the three things of ‘safety, security and facility’.
Gautam said that he is in constant discussions with the domestic and international airlines for the operation of the airport. He said that they are studying the ‘air route’ to make the flight from Pokhara Regional Airport shorter and cheaper.
‘We have Bhairahawa, Birgunj, Simara and other routes from China and Paro (Bhutan). It would be better to add air route from Bhairahawa to reduce flight time. However, Bhairahawa’s route so far is only an outgoing route, not an incoming route, ‘said Gautam.
During the inauguration, Gautam informed that China has already started connecting Hong Kong, Bangkok, Doha and Delhi. “That means tourism, easy access and launching international flights from a religious and cultural point of view,” he said.
He said that the airport is being built according to the standards of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). The ‘green body’ aircraft will be able to fly to the airport where 11 ships can be parked. ‘Long-distance ships can’t come because of fuel. Besides, there is no problem for medium distance ships to come here, ”said Gaumat.He said that the Civil Aviation Authority is preparing to operate 48 domestic and six international flights daily from the airport.
Vinesh Munkarmi, chief of the airport, informed that 84 percent of the work of the airport, which is being constructed by the Chinese company CAMCE, has been completed since November 1, 2017. The deadline is July 10, 2021, but now the deadline has been extended by one more year. The contractor company has said that all the construction materials have arrived by December. Then the work becomes easier, ‘he said.
At present, 415 workers, including 185 Chinese, are working at the hospital. Even after the first strike, there were more than 700 workers, but after the second phase of the epidemic, the number of workers decreased, said Munkarmi. He said the airport, which is being built with a concessional loan of Rs 22 billion from the Chinese government, has so far spent 68 percent of its financial expenditure.