April 21: Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) has formally come into operation from today (April 21). It is the second international airport of the country after the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Pradip Adhikari, informed that the new runway of the GBIA has formally come into operation.
According to him, the formal opening of the second international airport is a milestone in the 74-year history of civil aviation in Nepal.
"We would like to offer our special thanks to all those who were directly and indirectly linked with the project," he said. The Director General said that the 1,500 metres long old runway has been closed and the new 3,500 metres runway has become operational.
Although the new runway of the airport has come into operation from today, international flights would start only from May 16, on the day of Buddha Jayanti festival or the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. The domestic flights have already started using the new runway from today itself.
Aircraft belonging to international airline companies can now land at the GBIA when the Kathmandu-based TIA is closed or during emergency situations.
Bikram Gautam, joint-coordinator of the Operation Readiness and Airport Transport, said domestic flights have been started from the GBIA from today. He said all the flights would be operated from the new runway.
"The Bhairahawa airport was operated on 4 July 1958 as a domestic airport. Now, we have declared that it has been brought into operation as an international airport from today," he added.
Jazeera Air of Kuwait has made all necessary preparations for operating international flights from the Gautam Buddha International Airport. Jazeera Air has so far taken official permission for operating flights from this airport. Other airlines are also in the process of operating flights from here. The airport authorities believe that the other airlines companies will also start their services from here soon.
Both narrow body and wide-body aircraft will conduct flights from GBIA.
Officials concerned have described the operation of the GBIA as a new leap forward in the country's aviation history.
Private airlines company, Yeti Airlines, conducted the first flight from the new runway, the airport office said. Other private airlines such as Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Shree Airlines, Saurya Airlines have been operating flights from here as well. – RSS