After receiving approval from the Tourism Ministry, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal will sign a long-term government-to-government agreement with India for periodic airport surveillance and radar flight inspections in order to avoid being forced into contracting with unreliable companies in the midst of the never-ending Covid-19 crisis. The agreement will be for periodic airport surveillance and radar flight inspections.
Owing to the viral outbreak, Nepal had recently requested assistance from India in order to undertake a fly inspection of the newly built navigation and communication infrastructure at Bhairahawa international airport, as the original contractor had been unable to travel due to the outbreak.
According to Raj Kumar Chettri, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the authority had also inquired of the Airport Authority of India about the possibility of assisting Nepal in conducting surveillance of navigation and communication infrastructure at all airports, with the exception of the new airport in Bhairahawa, according to The Nepal Post.
Nepal has opted to engage the Airport Authority of India for at least five years, based on the favourable response received from India, he said, adding that the proposal from Nepal’s civil aviation organisation had been approved by the country’s tourism ministry.
The proposal must be approved by the Civil Aviation Board, which is presided over by the Minister of Tourism. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the Prime Minister of Nepal, who also holds the tourism portfolio, serves as the chairman of the civil aviation authority.
Our meeting with Prime Minister Deuba was scheduled for this week, but we were unable to meet with him because of his hectic schedule.” “Another meeting has been scheduled,” Chettri explained. However, the Civil Aviation Authority is unsure of the exact date.
Nepal has been unable to complete annual airport surveillance and radar flight inspections owing to Covid-19 for the past two years, which has caused the country to fall behind schedule.
According to Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the ministry in charge of aviation matters, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal could launch the procedure in accordance with the legislation, but the board would have to give its approval before it could begin.
“The decision was intended to avoid the necessity of contracting with untrustworthy companies during the Covid-19 issue. Nepal must undertake the inspection as soon as possible, but bringing in foreign specialists will be challenging given the current conditions, and this could cause the periodic test to be delayed,” Lamichhane explained.
“The government-to-government agreement will ensure that the equipment and airport are thoroughly tested in a timely manner.”
Bhairahawa International Airport is equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS), which must be inspected at least once every six months, according to the airport’s director. “We will save time and money by not having to go through the inconvenience of holding tenders during a time of crisis.”
The construction of the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, in the south central region of Nepal, is nearing completion, and it is expected to be ready for commercial operation by the beginning of 2022.
It will have a runway that is 3,000 metres long and 45 metres wide, and it will serve as a gateway to Lumbini, the international pilgrimage site that is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.
In November 2013, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal awarded the Rs6.22 billion civil works component of the first package to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group, which is responsible for the construction of the airport.
The contract for the second package, worth $4.83 million, was awarded on March 7, 2019, to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, a Thai government-owned firm with a completion target of the end of 2019.
Two packages are included in this contract: the provision of communication, navigation, and surveillance/air traffic management equipment, as well as the installation and commissioning of that equipment, as well as other relevant services.
After the Covid-19 epidemic began in 2020, the company was forced to close its doors. Despite the lockdowns that were imposed on a number of occasions, the installation of the equipment was successfully completed.
The Thai company has informed the airport project that they will only be able to begin the calibration of the equipment once the situation with Covid-19 in Nepal has improved, according to the company.
Following the relaxing of the prohibitory orders, Covid cases have continued unabated, and it does not appear that this will change any time soon. Nepal recorded 1,558 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Friday, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 783,075.
When the civil aviation organisation requested permission to undertake the experiments, it asked the governments of South Korea and India, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States, but only the southern neighbour answered affirmatively.
A flight inspection of the radar system at Bhatte Danda in Lalitpur was done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a federal agency of the United States government responsible for the regulation of aircraft and airports.
Civil aviation authority officials say that if the government-to-government agreement is completed, “the testing of the equipment will commence after the monsoon season.”