Caan passes Rs45b budget with largest chunk for infra

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 15, 2018-

The board of directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has approved a Rs45.17 billion budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, mainly focused on improving infrastructure at Kathmandu’s problem-plagued Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).  

Last year, Caan approved a Rs43.59 billion budget that was endorsed only after more than four months of the financial year had passed due to a bitter boardroom battle between the then tourism minister Jitendra Narayan Dev and Caan director general Sanjiv Gautam.

The delayed approval affected project execution and only Rs26 billion out of the Rs43.59 billion was spent in the last fiscal year. “This fiscal year, we expect to utilise the entire budget as it has been passed in time,” said Birendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for Caan. “As there are a number of projects that will be completed by this fiscal year, we believe capital expenditure will increase significantly.”

Out of the total budget of Rs45.17 billion, Rs20.85 billion is in the form of shares, loans and grants. “Almost all the projects this year are carry-over projects. There are only a few new ones,” said Shrestha.

According to him, Caan has allocated Rs20 million to conduct an operation and management study of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa as the government has planned to operate the airport under a public-private partnership model or by inducting private investors.

Similarly, Caan has allocated Rs250 million to acquire lands at the construction site of a proposed airport in Nagidanda in Kavre.

Among the old projects, Caan has allocated Rs3.5 billion for TIA runway rehabilitation works. The rehabilitation project is expected to begin by mid-February next year and be completed by July. Similarly, Rs1.4 billion has been set aside for distributing compensation for lands acquired for the expansion of TIA. According to Shrestha, Rs3 billion has been allocated for the construction of a parallel taxiway from the southern part of the runway.

As the 02 runway approach point in Koteshwor is not connected with the taxiway, aircraft require extra time to park after landing.

The new connection will save at least 8-10 minutes, allowing another aircraft to land, Shrestha said. The taxiway will be more than 1,000 metres long.

Rs1.19 billion has been allocated for the construction of a parallel taxiway on the northern side of the runway and the expansion of the international apron under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded project. Another Rs497.2 million has been earmarked to extend the southern end of the runway by 300 metres. Caan has allocated Rs590 million for the construction of two parking bays on the southern side and another Rs343.4 million has been set aside for the construction of remote parking bays on the eastern side of the runway.

A new helipad that can accommodate 30 choppers will be built on the eastern side of TIA. For this Rs500 million project, Caan has allocated Rs250 million this fiscal year. Caan plans to convert the existing helipad at TIA into parking bays for domestic aircraft. Similarly, helipads will be expanded in Nepalgunj, Simikot and Lukla this year.

Among other schemes, runway lights in Nepalgunj airport will be replaced and VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and distance measuring equipment (DME) will be installed at Dhangadhi and Chandragadhi airports this year to modernise their navigational equipment, Shrestha said.

The VOR/DME refers to combined radio navigation station for aircraft, which consists of two radio beacons placed together.

For the national pride international airport projects in Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Nijgadh, Caan has allocated a combined budget of Rs21 billion. “Due to good progress at Gautam Buddha and Pokhara airports, we expect Caan’s capital expenditure to increase significantly this fiscal year,” said Shrestha, adding that Caan had achieved 60 percent physical progress in the last fiscal year.

Budget points

  • Rs3.5 billion allocated for TIA runway rehabilitation works
  • Rs1.4 billion to distribute compensation for land acquired for TIA expansion
  • R3b to construct a parallel taxiway from the southern part of the runway
  • Combined budget of Rs21 billion for national pride international airport projects in Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Nijgadh

Published: 15-08-2018 08:51

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