October 11: The construction work of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa has reached the final stage.
However, to make optimal use of this airport, international flights coming to Nepal need to use the air entry points of Mahendranagar and Nepalgunj via India, for which India has not yet given positive response. As these entry routes are uncertain, the prospect of flight operation at the under-construction airport has become uncertain and complicated.
Even if India does not approve flights to enter Nepal through its airspace from the routes requested by Nepal, it does not mean that there will be no flight. However, the Mahendranagar and Nepalgunj air entry routes via Indian airspace will save both time and fuel for the flights.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has been informing that the Gautam Buddha Airport will be operational from the beginning of 2021 and everything is being done accordingly.
During Prime Minister KP Oli's recent visit to India, the issue was discussed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. However, no further progress has been made since then, according to tourism ministry officials. Aviation experts, officials of the ministry and officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal have been saying that the issue of airspace should be resolved by initiating a high level diplomatic discussion.
Indian authorities have so far disagreed to the air route citing security reasons, according to CAAN officials.