Technicians will start assembling the tools at Bhairahawa Airport subsequent week

Technicians will resume work at Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa after coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. The second package of the blocked construction project is expected to resume in the third week of February.

Work was halted for almost a year due to Covid-19 fears after more than 90 percent of the work was done. The second package consists of the installation of communications, navigation and surveillance, air traffic management and meteorological equipment.

On March 7, 2019, the Thai state-owned company Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AEROTHAI) won the US $ 4.83 million order for the second package with a closing date of the end of 2019.

The contractor is sending two skilled workers from the USA and Canada next week to equip the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and VOR / DME, a radio beacon that combines a VHF broadcast range (VOR) with a distance measuring device (DME). said Pravin Neupane, engineer for the second package of the project.

The ILS provides an approach path for the precise alignment and descent of an aircraft on the final approach to a runway.

The VOR is a type of short-range aircraft radio navigation system that allows aircraft to use a receiving unit to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio signals.

The DME is often combined with a VOR to give pilots an accurate indication of the aircraft’s range.

“Both experts from the device manufacturer are expected to arrive in Nepal on February 20th. You will start the installation work on February 23rd. “

The two experts will complete the main components of the ILS and VOR / DME systems, which officials say will take at least a month.

While the American experts will work on navigation systems, Austrian experts who will arrive in the second week of March will be working on various voice control communication systems used for air traffic management communication. Other US experts will work on meteorological equipment.

“If everything goes as planned, we can complete the installation of the devices and test them within four months,” said Neupane.

He said they had informal talks with India and Australia to bring a special aircraft for calibration of the instrument landing system and other navigation and communication equipment.

“We can complete the calibration within a week, but the process of getting the special aircraft in is not that simple.”

Rajan Pokhrel, Director General of the Civil Aviation Administration of Nepal, hopes to open the airport this year after the recent development.

According to Pokhrel, the installation of the runway lighting system, which is included under the first package, was completed by the mobilization of Nepalese workers after the Chinese civil aviation airport assembly in the northwest, the project contractor for the first phase or construction, failed to hire skilled workers.

On September 12, 2020, the cabinet allowed projects to bring technicians in from overseas as several projects were pending as skilled workers were stuck in various countries due to lockdown measures imposed by Nepal to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But even after the decision was made, the contractor was unable to bring the workers as the number of virus cases increased. The project hired Indian workers to install the central AC system in the terminal building after the contractor failed to bring in Chinese workers.

“All surfaces including the cabling work in the terminal building were blocked because the central AC system was not installed. Together with the central AC system, almost all blocked components of the project have now been resumed, ”said Pokhrel.

The Bhairahawa international airport project has carved out a spot on the list of longest-running construction projects in the country, having last stalled on various occasions due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Construction began in 2013 and should be completed in 2017. However, the project encountered several hurdles that postponed the completion deadline several times. The final completion target was set for December 2019 – the opening for Visit Nepal 2020. The airport is now scheduled to open in mid-2021.

Gautam Buddha International Airport in southern Nepal will be the gateway to the international pilgrimage destination of Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. The airport will have a runway 3,000 meters long and 45 meters wide.

The Nepalese Civil Aviation Authority awarded the first package – the structural component worth Rs 6.22 billion – to the Northwest Civil Aviation airport assembly in China in November 2013.

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