Caan to fill budget shortfall at TIA

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 9, 2018-The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has said it will be mobilizing $40-50 million to make up the budget shortfall to build a parallel taxiway and international apron at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) under the Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project. 

The $92-million project, jointly funded by the government ($12 million) and the Asian Development Bank ($80 million in loan and grant), was implemented in December 2010 with the completion deadline set for March 2016. 

Its key component includes upgrading TIA’s airside infrastructure to international safety standards, building a new 1,400-metre parallel taxiway and constructing a new international apron.

The ADB recently said that there was only $15 million to continue the construction of the parallel taxiway and international apron, and urged Caan to fill the budget gap. 

“The funding shortfall is $40-50 million, and we are ready to make up the deficit,” said Sanjiv Gautam, director general of Caan. The plan to make up the shortfall was tabled at Caan’s board in 2012, but it was shelved at that time as the project was at the initial stage. 

“We are waiting for a new minister. As soon as the minister is appointed, the Caan board will approve the amount,” he said. The tourism minister chairs the Caan board. 

Caan, however, is yet to award the construction contract for the parallel taxiway and international apron. As per the project timeline, bids would be invited by May 15 and the contract would be awarded by March 31. 

The Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project, which has been declared problematic, has the longest duration contract. The original contactor, Constructora Sanjose, was sent off for non-performance in December 2016. Sanjose and Caan signed the contract for the project, then known as the TIA Modernisation Project, in December 2012 with the completion deadline set for March 2016. 

Caan was forced to say adios to the Spanish company by officially issuing a ‘notice of termination’ in December 2016 for delays. The termination of the contract became effective on December 27, 2016.

In the four years the project was active, it recorded a meagre 17 percent physical progress. In June 2017, Caan again invited bids to restart the stalled project. It also broke up the project into four different packages. 

Package 3 consists of building a parallel taxiway and international apron. After the completion of the project, TIA will be able to handle more than 5.85 million passengers annually and accommodate bigger aircraft.

Published: 09-03-2018 09:04

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