Chinese FM Wang Yi hands over key to Pokhara International Airport to Nepal

Kathmandu, March 26 : Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday handed over the key to the $215.96 million China-funded Pokhara International Airport to Nepal in the presence of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka received the key on behalf of Nepal. Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Director General among other office bearers were present at the event. Later, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Ale handed over the letter of appreciation to the Chinese construction company of the Pokhara International Airport. China CAMC Engineering won the construction contract for the project in May 2014. Binesh Munkarmi, project manager at the Pokhara International Airport, said that 93 percent of the work has been completed so far. The airport is being built under the engineering procurement and construction model. Under this model, a single contractor takes responsibility for all components like design, engineering, construction and procurement. The contract binds the contractor to deliver the project at the stipulated time and predetermined price regardless of any possible cost overruns. In April 2016, the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli had laid the foundation stone of the project, which will serve as the gateway to the Annapurna region, celebrated as the world’s most popular trekking trail. The construction work started in July 2017. The government signed a $215.96 million soft loan agreement with China EXIM Bank in March 2016 to finance the construction of the airport. The selection of the construction site, detailed engineering work and the master plan of Pokhara International Airport was initially prepared in 1971 by DIWI, a German consulting engineering firm. The runway of Pokhara International Airport is 45 metres wide and 2,500 metres long, and has an east-west orientation. It will be able to handle medium-range commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Boeing 757. The airport has a 1,200-metre-long and 23-metre-wide taxiway connecting the runway with the parking bays, hangars and terminals. The main international terminal building has a capacity to handle 650 passengers per hour. The airport will have three parking bays for A320-type jets with aerobridge facility, and five parking bays for ATR-type aircraft. There will be a separate terminal and parking bay for domestic flights. RN

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