The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is all set to operate the Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) from the first day of the English New Year (January 1, 2023).
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” will inaugurate the the airport. The inauguration will be followed by the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion.
Top leaders of various political parties including Prime Minister Prachanda will attend the inauguration of the airport in Pokhara on January 1.
Earlier, the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had laid the foundation stone of the airport on April 13, 2016.
A Chinese company named China CAMCE, which was awarded the contract for the construction of the airport, started the construction work one and a half years after the foundation stone was laid. The construction company handed over the infrastructure of the airport to Nepal in the third week of March last year after 93 percent of the work was completed. The airport was upgraded despite the difficulties faced during the pandemic.
Narrow-body aircraft like Airbus A-320 and Boeing 757-200 series can take off and land at the airport. These aircraft have the capacity to carry less than 200 passengers. The airport has parking lots that can accommodate 11 aircraft including three large and eight small ones. The runway of the airport is 2,500 meters and the width is 45 meters and the thickness of the runway is 34 cm. The airport has the capacity to handle 610 passengers per hour during peak hours. The airport has domestic and international terminal buildings spread over 14,000 square meters of land.
It is estimated that the construction of the airport cost around Rs 22 billion. The Ministry of Finance has taken this amount as a concessional loan from China’s Export-Import (Exim) Bank. At present, aircraft can only land from the east in this one-way approach airport. In the agreement between CAAN and CAMCE, it was agreed to build the airport on EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) model.
Four decades ago, 3,106 ropanis of land in wards 14, 15 and 18 in Pokhara was acquired to build an airport. After it was not enough, another 521 ropanis of land was acquired. The construction of the airport was started by acquiring another 60 acres of land to build a 10 km road around the airport.