Nepal’s government decided to finally begin operation of the much-delayed Pokhara International Airport from 1 January 2023.
With an investment of Rs22 billion, 98% of the airport work that was undertaken by China’s CAMC Engineering has been completed. The airport has bays for 4 mid-size airliners with 2 airbridges, parking for 8 turboprops and a maintenance hangar.
, The airport is set to connect the scenic tourism hub to Nepal’s regional capitals without travellers having to fly to Kathmandu first.
Reducing the height of a hill on the eastern approach to the runway, relocating a garbage landfill site to reduce risk of bird strikes, and building a retaining wall to protect the airport from river erosion is not yet complete.
The project had previously been delayed by decades of bureaucratic hurdles, local opposition, corruption, and the Covid-19 pandemic. The airport is Nepal’s third international aviation getaway after Kathmandu and Bhairawa.
In May, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated Lumbini’s Gautam Buddha International Airport with the arrival of a Jazeera Airways flight from Kuwait City.
Days later, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to scrap all decisions taken thus far to build another new international airport in Nijgad, 80km south of Kathmandu, citing an amateurish Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) that ignored the ecological cost of the $3.5 billion project.