Civil Aviation Authority study deems Dharan airport construction not feasible

KATHMANDU: The recent study conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has delivered a verdict on the proposed construction of an airport in Dharan, stating that it is neither technically nor economically feasible.

A comprehensive assessment was carried out by a three-member study team appointed by CAAN, led by Sudarshan Khadka, the director of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation. The team also comprised senior legal officer Bimal Khanal and chartered accountant Anil Basnet. The findings of the study have brought into question the viability of establishing an airport in Dharan.

The aviation policy formulated in 2063 BS (2006 AD) mandated the construction of airports in the Tarai and Inner Madhes regions, with a stipulation that they should be at least 40 nautical miles away from the nearest existing airport.

However, the recent study’s outcomes have raised concerns over the inconsistency between this policy directive and the economic analysis conducted.

The study highlighted several factors that contribute to the impracticality of establishing an airport in Dharan, particularly focusing on the availability of convenient road transportation and the geographical location of the area.

The one-sided approach, as mandated by the policy, was deemed unfeasible due to a variety of technical and operational limitations. These limitations, according to the study team, would impede long-term, regular, and commercial aviation activities.

Sudarshan Khadka, leading the study, emphasized the need to reassess the existing aviation policy and explore more practical alternatives. He pointed out that the geographical conditions and transportation infrastructure favor other modes of travel, making the proposed airport economically unviable.

Bimal Khanal, the senior legal officer in the study team, emphasized the importance of aligning policies with ground realities. He suggested that policy adjustments are crucial for ensuring that resources are invested wisely and that proposed projects are in sync with the practical needs of the region.

Anil Basnet, the chartered accountant on the team, underscored the significance of conducting rigorous economic analyses before committing to large-scale infrastructure projects. He stressed that aligning policies with the current economic and infrastructural landscape is essential for sustainable and efficient development.

The study’s findings have sparked discussions within the civil aviation and policymaking sectors. Stakeholders are now contemplating the necessary policy adjustments to reflect the practical constraints and opportunities present in the region.

As Nepal looks to enhance its aviation infrastructure, studies like these play a crucial role in guiding decisions that have long-term implications for the country’s development.

Fiscal Nepal |
Tuesday February 27, 2024, 03:42:07 PM |

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