Biratnagar airport to be upgraded

The government is preparing to upgrade Biratnagar domestic airport to international standards with cooperation between the local, provincial and federal governments.

As announced by the government during the budget announcement for the current fiscal year, Province 1, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and Biratnagar Metropolitan has signed a memorandum of understanding today to expand and upgrade the airport.

According to the agreement, Biratnagar airport will be upgraded to the level of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA). The up-gradation of Biratnagar airport is one of the priorities of the government. MoCTCA has also announced that regional flights will be operated from this airport.

In order to expand the airport, today’s meeting has directed CAAN to go ahead with the land acquisition processes. As mentioned in the agreement, the Biratnagar Metropolitan office and Province 1 government will coordinate on land acquisition for expansion of the airport.

As per the agreement, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), on behalf of the federal government, will invest 50 percent of the total investment for airport expansion and up-gradation.

Meanwhile, the provincial government will bear 40 percent and the local government will chip in 10 percent of the total investment.

Based on the agreement, CAAN has to prepare a master plan for the airport expansion.

The CAAN will also need to conduct a study and submit a report on land acquisition and compensation distribution to MoCTCA as soon as possible. No deadline has been set for the field study of airport expansion.

Similarly, other works related to preparing designs, detailed project reports and frameworks have also been handed over to CAAN.

The agreement was signed by Rajan Pokhrel, director general of CAAN, and Meghnath Kafle, secretary of Provincial Ministry of Industry, Forest and Environment.

CAAN has also signed an agreement with Indra Mani Pokhrel, administration chief of the Biratnagar metropolitan office amid the presence of Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai and Sherdhan Rai, chief minister of Province 1.

Earlier, Chief Minister of Province 1 Rai had hinted at the acquisition of land to develop Biratnagar airport into a regional international airport while inaugurating a program to mark the 20th anniversary of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal on December 18, 2018.

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