Second International Airport in Nepal to be operational by 2015


If all goes well, construction of the much talked Second International Airport (SIA) in Nijgadh, Bara, will start by April next year, government officials said on Sunday.

Officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) made such statement during the submission of the Detailed Feasibility Study Report carried out by Korea’s Landmark Worldwide Company (LMW) on the ministry premises. The airport will be developed under the ‘build own operate and transfer’ (BOOT) model.

Although the LMW study said the single-runway airport’s construction—if started this year—could be completed by 2015 for commercial operation, necessary legal procedures to be followed by the government has delayed the project by a year.

“The comprehensive report submitted today will be briefed to the prime minister, other ministers and high-level government officials,” said MoTCA secretary Kishore Thapa.

According to Thapa, after the briefing, the high-level BOOT committee will start the investors’ selection process—which will take at least six months—and negotiations with selected investors will take an additional six months.

However, the government has two options for awarding the project to investors. First one is ‘request for proposal (RFP)’—which is based on selection process—and the second, under the BOOT Act section-9—which says that the project can directly be awarded to any interested investors.

As SIA is a government prioritized project and LMW is showing interest in the project since 2007, the Korean company has high chances of winning the project. “Although, MoTCA has assured prioritizing the project to LMW, which of the options to be adopted will be finalized through a political decision,” Thapa added.

In the recommendation of the BOOT committee, the project will be forwarded to the Cabinet to decide on which option to be adopted.

On March 8, 2010, the government had awarded the contract for carrying out a detailed feasibility study to LMW. The company has invested $3.55 million for the detailed and design feasibility study.

LMW Senior Vice President Seung-Hyung Lee is also optimistic that the government would acknowledge their efforts made in the project over the last 4 years. “We hope that the government will recognize our efforts and will assign the project development to us.”

SIA will cover 3,000 hectares of land (2,000 hectares for airport and remaining for airport city). LMW’s feasibility study said the proposed airport could handle 15 million passengers until 2022 and even accommodate the super-jumbo Airbus A380 after the first phase of construction.

The estimated cost for the first phase, according to the feasibility study, would be $ 650 million. The proposed airport Apron has 15 stands for international carriers, four stands for domestic and two for cargo flights.

The first passenger terminal has an area of 75,500 square meter, six boarding gates, 34 check-in counters, six security inspection counters, 35 immigration counters, eight customs inspection counters and six baggage claim counters.

By the end of the third phase of construction, the airport will have a parallel runway, enabling it to handle 60 million passengers annually.

“The study said the Kathmandu-Tarai fast track should be completed at least six months before the commencement of the airport. “Without completing the fast track at least six months in advance, the airport cannot start commercial operation,” said Binay Rawal, LMW representative in Nepal.