Prime Minister Dahal to inaugurate Pokhara International Airport on January 1

Nepal is all set to inaugurate the international airport in Pokhara without addressing the complaint of design flaws and bad planning.

A view of nearly completed Pokhara Regional International Airport/Photo: RSS

NL Today

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Pokhara: Preparation has been made for the inauguration of the newly-constructed Pokhara Regional International Airport. The Pokhara Regional international airport is going to be officially brought into operation from January 1, 2023, according to officials. 

According to Pokhara International Airport Civil Aviation Office, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is scheduled to inaugurate the airport amidst a grand ceremony. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, top leaders of different political parties, industrialists, tourism entrepreneurs would attend the grand inauguration of the airport, said Director of Pokhara International Airport, Bikram Gautam. 

All the preparations for the inauguration of the airport have reached the final phase, he added.  All crew members and passengers of the first plane landing at Pokhara International Airport would be welcomed with garlands, according to the Pokhara International Airport Civil Aviation Office. 

Similarly, the inauguration programme would start from 11:00 am and the celebration programme is scheduled after 2:00 pm.  

Pokhara metropolis has said a variety of programmes as cultural tableaus of various ethnic communities, felicitation programme, cultural performances and celebration would be organized on the occasion. Various personalities, including Shankar Raj Pathak, who conceptualized the construction of an international airport in Pokahara, would be felicitated. 

The Pokhara Metropolitan City had carried out a cleaning programme from the Lakeside up to Kotre on December 28 targeting the inauguration. Stating that the Pokhara International Airport is a matter of pride for the city, Mayor Dhanaraj Acharya insisted on making the inauguration programme grandiose and systematic. 

“The Pokhara International Airport is not only the dream of the Pokharelis (dwellers of Pokhara) for many decades, but it is the ‘lifeline’ of the entire western region of the country. The efficient operation of the airport is going to be important,” he said, adding that the metropolis is carrying out works to make the inauguration a grand occasion.

Mayor Acharya informed that various sub-committees have been formed for this.  According to him, the airport is going to be a milestone for the promotion of tourism not only in Pokhara but the entire country, so the message of its inauguration should be spread throughout the world. The direct air connectivity with international cities would contribute more in the promotion of Pokhara. 

All the domestic flights would be conducted from the Pokhara airport from the day of its opening. The private airlines companies have made preparations including setting up offices for starting flights from the new airport. Buddha Air, Saurya Airlines and Yeti Airlines have already conducted successful test flights.

“Pokhara is a major tourism destination in the country and the tourism industry is definitely going to be benefitted from the operation of the international airport,” said Pom Narayan Shrestha, President of Pokhara Tourism Council.

The Pokhara Regional International Airport is constructed by the Chinese construction company – CAMCE. The airport was handed over to Nepal during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in April last year. Some works of the airport were remaining at that time.

The airport is constructed with the Rs 22 billion concessional loan and grant from the EXIM Bank of China. Although the land for the construction of the airport had been acquired in 2032 BS, its foundation stone was laid only in 2073 BS after about four decades. The construction works were started in 2074 BS.

(Krishna Dawadi/RSS)