Kathmandu, April 21

The Gautam Buddha International Airport, also a national pride project, in Rupandehi district of the Lumbini Province has formally come into operation from today. This is the second international airport in the country after the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulatory body, Engineer Pradip Adhikari informed that the new runway of the GBIA has formally come into operation.

According to him, the second international airport has formally come into operation and it is a milestone in the 74 years of civil aviation history of the country.

“We would like to offer our special thanks to all who are 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 runway has come into operation from today at the Gautam Buddha International Airport, the international flights would however be started from May 16, on the day of Buddha Jayanti or the birth anniversary of the Buddha. The domestic flights have been started from the new runway from today itself.

The international airlines planes can land at the GBIA when the Kathmandu airport is closed or in any other 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 domestic airport. Now, we have declared that it has been brought into operation as an international airport from today,” he added.

The Jazeera Air has made all the 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 contacting for 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 commercial operational of the GBIA as a new leap forward in the country’s aviation history.

The private sector airlines company, Yeti Airlines, conducted the first flight from the new runway, the Airport Office said. Other private airlines as Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Shree Airlines, Saurya Airlines have been operating flights from here.

CIAA stated that GBIA would be operated at the same capacity as the TIA.