Gautam Buddha International Airport near Lumbini in Nepal
Gautam Buddha International Airport which is also known as Lumbini International Airport is proposed as the second international airport of Nepal. This airport is constructed on Bhairawaha, Rupandehi district. Upon completion of this airport, it will serve an alternative airport of the only international airport here in Nepal; Tribhuwan International Airport, which is facing huge traffic in the recent year. Apart from this international airport, there is one domestic airport at Bhairawaha, which is being upgraded as an international airport. With the target of completion within the year 2020, which Nepal is marking Visit Nepal Year 2020; the workers are continuously working to finish this project on time i.e. before the year 2020. There is also a plan for a test flight in a few months.
The Bhairahawa airport was first operated on the year 1958 and has been serving as a domestic airport till date. This airport has been helping to connect different districts nearby and also the tourists who visit Lumbini as Buddhist Heritage Tour.
Due to the excess pressure and traffic on the only international airport here in Kathmandu, then Prime Minister of Nepal, Sushil Koirala laid the foundation stone for this project in the year 2015 with the deadline of December 2017. But due to the various reasons like political protest, border blockade, shortage of construction material, and payment issues between the Nepali contractor and the Chinese contractor, the deadline has been revised twice. Now, if everything goes as planned without any obstruction during construction, it is projected to be completed within the year 2020. With the completion of almost 50 percent physical progress, the authorities are planning for a test flight in October 2019. Upon completion of this national pride construction, it is believed to upgrade the industrial hub Bhairahawa and also increase international pilgrimage in Lumbini. Upon completion of this airport upgrading, the handling capacity of this airport will be increased to around 750,000 annually and around 4000 passenger in an hour.
This newly upgrading Gautam Buddha International Airport next to Buddhist Tourist Site is located at an altitude of 109 m above the sea level and has a runway of 3000 meters. The whole airport covers an area of 10,000 ropanis. There will be hangers, immigration area, Nepal Oil Corporation depot, and radar. With the two-way approach, this airport will be able to hold (park) at least 10 planes. The current parking spot of this airport can accommodate only 6 small aircraft. This new terminal building will be equipped with the latest new technology and the capacity will be more than the current international airport and also there will be an aero-bridge built for the passenger which helps the passenger to enter aircraft directly from the terminal and vice versa.
- This upgrading project as International Airport is started in 2015 January. However actual work started in December 2017 due to various conflicts and Nepal Earthquake 2015.
- As the report of Gautam Buddha International Airport upgrading project, 80 % of Work is Completed at the end of July 2019.
- Deadline of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) Project is December 2019, which was extended twice.
Nepal’s new Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), also known as Lumbini International Airport, is expected to meet the government target of commencing operations in mid-2020, marking “Visit Nepal Year 2020” and becoming Nepal’s second international airport. Upon completion, the airport will serve as an alternative to Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, which is facing a huge rise in traffic due to a steady increase in international tourists in recent years via Buddhist Door.
With the completion of this Gautam Buddha International Airport, it is expected that more people will visit Nepal as well as it will help to control the air traffic in the Tribhuwan International Airport by diverting the flight to the Gautam Buddha International Airport. Upon completion of this internal airport, it will help the internal tourist to directly fly to Gautam Buddha International Airport avoiding the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu.