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China hands over Pokhara int'l airport to Nepal



Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi handed over Chinese-built Pokhara International Airport to Nepal on March 26 during his meeting with Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. The airport is China's largest aid project in Nepal and a key Belt and Road cooperation project between the two countries.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi hands over a symbolic key of the project to Nepal's Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka in the presence of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on March 26. [Photo/CAMCE]

Prem Bahadur Ale, Nepal's minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation, attended the ceremony on March 26 at which construction on the airport, which was undertaken by Sinomach subsidiary China CAMC Engineering Co Ltd, known as CAMCE, was declared fully completed.

Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale (3rd, R) gives the certificate of project completion to a CAMEC executive on March 26. [Photo/CAMCE]

In his speech, the minister spoke highly of Sinomach's efforts to fulfill its project commitments, and showed his gratitude to the company for ensuring the smooth progress of the project, especially now in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ale also noted that the new Pokhara airport will better link together the world and Nepal and stimulate the creation of local jobs.

Pokhara International Airport

Pokhara International Airport is located in Kaski District, Nepal and will replace the existing Pokhara Airport, which was commissioned in July 1958. The new airport will serve as the aerial gateway to the Himalayan and Annapurna regions in Nepal. It is expected to handle one million passengers a year.

Front view of Pokhara International Airport [Photo/CAMCE]

The conceptual master plan of the new Pokhara airport is designed to the 4D standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A 2.5-kilometer-long and 45-meter-wide runway with a 330-meter runway strip is planned for Pokhara International Airport to support take-off and landing operations of commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 757.

The airport has an area of 2,500 square meters accommodating the air traffic control tower and operations building, two security buildings, a 6,000-square-meter domestic and international hangar, a 200-square-meter administration building, car parking areas, an air navigation unit, a fuel storage facility, water supply facilities and other utilities.

Aerial image of Pokhara International Airport [Photo/CAMCE]

The new airport is aimed at encouraging tourism in the Pokhara region, which is one of the popular tourist destinations in Nepal. The current airport has a short runway that has been experiencing technical difficulties.

The project, identified as Nepal's National Project of Honor, is expected to provide improved air transportation services to the growing number of international and domestic passengers and cargo. In addition, it will strengthen the country's civil aviation sector and contribute to economic and social development, as well as tourism.

In October 2021, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inspected the proposed Pokhara airport, and acknowledged the "China Speed" as well as the advanced technologies and responsible attitude shown in its implementation.

The Belt and Road Initiative upholds the principle of joint consultation and contributions for shared benefits, and the joint building of projects. The Pokhara International Airport project has significantly boosted Nepal's national construction, and marked the traditional friendship and mutually beneficial win-win cooperation between China and Nepal.

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