Final preparations are underway to kick start the international flights from Gautam Buddha International Airport of Bhairahawa in Western Nepal.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) was planning to launch a test flight on April, 14 and start commercial international flights from May, 16, coinciding with the Buddha Jayanti. The test flight will be conducted by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The calibration flight took off on the first week of March, while, the report is yet to come. The report is expected to come after 42 days of calibration flight.
CAAN has stated that the airport will be fully ready for international flights from April 22.
According to CAAN Spokesperson Dev Chandra Lal Karn, soon after the airport comes into operation, any aircraft unable to land at the Tribhuvan International Airport can land on the GBIA.
It is expected that the low pricing flight from Bhairahawa would attract many tourists to Lumbini.
The Lumbini Development Trust has also projected that the number of foreign tourists visiting will double after the operation of GBIA.
CAAN has expected a direct flight to Bhairahawa from tourists from countries including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, where there is a majority of Buddhists.
The Nepal government has formally requested to airline Service Company to operate the flight from GBIA. More than 11 companies from five nations have expressed their interest to operate commercial flights from the airport.
These airlines include National flag carrier Nepal Airlines, Jazeera Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, Salam Air, Thai Smile Airways, Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Gulf Air, Go First founded as Go Air, Oman Air among others.
Jazeera Airways, Kuwait will fly daily basis for the first time if any hindrance in the planning and preparation of commercial flights is not recorded.
According to CAAN, it has sought permission for a direct flight to and from Bhairahawa and Kuwait City.
Spokesperson Karn said that other airlines are expected to make a similar flying proposal.
Karn, said, “Other airways may have made the plan, but, Jazeera Airways approached us forefront, therefore, we are excited.” Airlines of the destination countries of the migrant workers are keenly interested to fly, but it is yet to be clear which companies will start flying. Gautam Buddha International Airport has said that the internal work is running full-fledged. General Manager of Gautam Buddha International Airport Govinda Prasad Dahal said that work is underway to establish immigration, security unit, oil cooperation, and customs.