By Laxman Poudel, Bhairahawa, Apr. 3: Final preparations are underway to start the international flights from Gautam Buddha International Airport of Bhairahawa.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has planned to launch a test flight on April, 14 and start commercial international flights on May, 16, on the day of Buddha Jayanti. The test flight will be conducted by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The calibration flight took off on the first week of March, while, the report is yet to come. The report is expected to come after 42 days of calibration flight.
CAAN has stated that the airport will be fully ready for international flights from April 22.
According to CAAN Spokesperson Dev Chandra Lal Karn, soon after the airport comes into operation, any aircraft unable to land at the Tribhuvan International Airport can land on the GBIA.
It is expected that the low pricing flight from Bhairahawa would attract many tourists to Lumbini.
The Lumbini Development Trust has also projected that the number of foreign tourists visiting will double after the operation of GBIA.
CAAN has expected a direct flight to Bhairahawa from tourists from countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, where there is a majority of Buddhists.
Daily flight from Jazeera Airways
The Nepal government has already formally requested to airline Service Company to operate the flight from GBIA. More than 11 companies from five nations have expressed their interest to operate commercial flights from the airport.
These airlines include National flag carrier Nepal Airlines, Jazeera Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, SalamAir, Thai Smile Airways, Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Gulf Air, Go First founded as Go Air, Oman Air and others.
Jazeera Airways, Kuwait will fly daily basis for the first time if any hindrance in the planning and preparation of commercial flights is not recorded.
According to CAAN, it has sought permission for a direct flight to and from Bhairahawa and Kuwait City.
Spokesperson Karn said that other airlines are expected to make a similar flying proposal.
Karn, said, “Other airways may have made the plan, but, Jazeera Airways approached us forefront, therefore, we are excited.”
Airlines of the destination countries of the migrant workers are keenly interested to fly, but it is yet to be clear which companies will start flying.
Internal Preparation Intensive
Gautam Buddha International Airport has said that the internal work is running full-fledged. General Manager of Gautam Buddha International Airport Govinda Prasad Dahal said that work is underway to establish immigration, security unit, oil cooperation, and customs.
An agreement between Nepal and India is yet to be reached
An agreement is yet to be reached with India on joint air routes and other alternative routes. The current entry point for Bhairahawa is Simara only.
Though Nepal has asked permission for alternative entry points for Mahendranagar, Nepalgunj, and Bhirahawa, India has not given permission to fly from alternative entry points.
The experts have suggested the joint airspace between Nepal and India to solve any other shortcomings, but, there has been no diplomatic initiative in this regard.
CAAN spokesperson Karna said that an agreement should be reached between Nepal and India via mutual talks.