Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) will have 13 new international parking bays within the next three years that are expected to ease congestion at the country’s only international air gateway. The addition will bring the number of parking bays at TIA to 22.
The existing nine parking bays are severely strained due to increased flight frequency of foreign carriers.
According to TIA, four parking bays will be built with the resources of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) while nine will be constructed under the TIA Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
As per the plan, the four parking bays to be developed by Caan will be completed within a year. The parking bays under the ADB project will be finished by 2020, said Babu Ram Poudel, chief of the project.
“The process of inviting bids to undertake the soil filling works on the northern side of the airport, where nine new parking bays will be constructed, will begin after two months,” he said.
Complete designs of the parking bays are yet to be made. “As per the initial plan, if we construct smaller bays, the number could increase to 12.”
After the Spanish contractor Constructora Sanjose that had been entrusted with the TIA Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project was sent off for non-performance in December last year, Caan broke up the project into four different packages.
The works under Package 1 include extending the southern end of the runway by 300 metres and building a drainage system and perimeter and access roads. The duration of Package 1 is 21 months. Package 2 includes construction of an international terminal building and associated works. Caan has already awarded Packages 1 and 2, and plans to sign a project contract for Package 3 this month. Package 3 includes construction of a sewage treatment system and installation of a power supply system. Packages 2 and 3 will last 18 and 12 months respectively.
The soil filling works on the northern side of the airport are the major component of the project in terms of duration and cost. The previous project had been able to supply only 600,000 cubic metres of soil out of the 2 million cubic metres required for the expansion works. The project, therefore, has planned to invite separate bids for the soil filling works. The TIA has witnessed a solid growth in passenger traffic in the first half of 2017, setting the stage for receiving a record number of flyers this year.
According to TIA data, 1.87 million travellers passed through the airport in the first six months of 2017, up 12.79 percent compared to the same period last year.
Aircraft movement also grew by 31.86 percent to 16,469 flights, a solid increase primarily due to Chinese airlines raising flight frequencies to Nepal. Currently 28 international airlines serve Kathmandu.