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Gautam Buddha International Airport which was under construction in Bhairahawa has been said to start trial flights by the first quarter of 2020. The airport’s 83.25% of work has been completed and almost 94% of civil work has been progressed which is likely to be enough to test and start trial flights. “Gautam Buddha International Airport’s civil works will be completed by December 2019 if the work pace is maintained” was said by the project director, Prabesh Adhikari. He further added and followed up by saying “Only 6% of civil works and installation of equipment under electromechanical work remain now which won’t take much time”.

Gautam Buddha International Airport Project Director, Prabesh Adhikari also said, “The work of Gautam Buddha International Airport has been divided into two parts; International Competitive bidding (ICB-I) and works dealing with communication electronic equipment’s (ICB-II).”  ICB-I includes works like construction of taxiway, runway, control tower, and other civil works come under ICB-I, whereas works like dealing with communication equipment and installation of that equipment fall under ICB-II. The reason why ICB-II is still incomplete is that the contractor for electromechanical works is being brought from the US, Europe, and China, but when it arrives the installation process won’t take much time.

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Yogesh Bhattarai, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation believes that the completion of this project would be before the deadline date and would proof beneficial for Visit Nepal 2020 tourism promotional campaign because it would make tourist travel easy to Lumbini “birthplace of Gautam Buddha” and Chitwan National Park. Yogesh Bhattarai believes that the project will be completed before the deadline date but fears that the operations might be pushed back a few months for the preparation of flights and airplanes.

This Gautam Buddha International Airport project was originally supposed to be finished in December 2017 but was delayed and the new completion deadline date was December 2019. The project was financially supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The project was estimated to cost Rs. 6.23 billion in which ADB provided 58.50 million (42.75 million in loans and 15.75 million in grants). 15 million has been chipped by OPEC Fund for International development as loan financing. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal will be bearing the remaining cost.

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