Eleven years after the construction work began, the runway of Falgunanda Sukilumba Airport in Ilam was inaugurated on Sunday amidst a function.
Former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale jointly inaugurated the new aviation infrastructure constructed in Ward No. 9 of Ilam Municipality Sunday morning.
Regular flight services in this airport will help in promoting tourism in the eastern hill districts, remarked Khanal. He said that the present government will work in a way that the people could feel the results.
Tourism Minister Ale informed that Nepal Airlines Corporation will soon operate Ilam-Kathmandu flight services. He pledged budget support for the construction of terminal building, security post and other structures needed for the airport.
He also underlined the need for taking initiatives to attract foreign tourists to the beautiful hills of Ilam district. The airport is spread over 328 ropanis of land.
Khanal had laid the foundation stone for the airport with 700 metre length and 60 metre width about 11 years ago when he was PM. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said that about Rs. 300 million is spent in the airport construction so far. Regular flight services from the airport to Kathmandu will begin from February 20 this year.
Ilam Municipality will bear all the liabilities to run the airport and has signed an agreement with Tara Air Pvt. Ltd., and the company has set Rs. 8,700 one way fare for Ilam to Kathmandu route. While locals are protesting the rate terming it ‘exorbitant’, NAC has announced its flight operation to and from the Sukilumba airport.