The Pokhara Regional International Airport is under construction in Kaski District, Nepal and will replace the existing Pokhara Airport, which was commissioned in July 1958.
Operations are scheduled to begin in 2021. The new airport will serve as the aerial gateway to the Himalayan and Annapurna regions in Nepal. It is anticipated to handle one million passengers a year.
The project 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.
Capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft, the new airport will serve as an alternative to Tribhuvan International Airport in the event of an emergency, and facilitate direct connectivity to South and East Asian countries.
Details of new Pokhara International Airport
The conceptual masterplan of the new Pokhara airport is designed to the category 4D standard set by the ICAO, IATA and FAA.
A 2.5km-long and 45m-wide runway with a 330m runway strip is planned to be built at the proposed Pokhara airport to support the take-off and landing operations of commercial aircraft such as Airbus A320, Boeing 737-700 series and Boeing 757-200.
A 1.2km x 23m parallel taxiway will be built from the runway central line on the north side. Two aircraft parking aprons each measuring 300m in length and 100m in width will be built for parking of up to five domestic or international aircraft.
The airside infrastructure works will also include two 182.5m-long and 23m-wide exit taxiways, access roads and aerodrome pavement.
Landside infrastructure will include a 10,000² international terminal building, a domestic terminal building with a floor area of 4,000m² and a 3,500m² customs and cargo building.
The airport will also feature 2,500m² air traffic control tower and operations building, two security buildings, a 6,000m² domestic and international hangar, a 200m² administration building, car parking areas, an air navigation unit, a fuel storage facility, water supply facilities and other utilities.
Construction and financing
The proposed airport will be built over 200ha of land acquired by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) in 1974.
In May 2014, China CAMC Engineering secured an engineering, procurement and construction contract from CAAN to build the airport.
In March 2016, EXIM Bank of China executed a loan agreement with the Nepalese Ministry of Finance to provide $215.96m in funding to support the new airport.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held in April 2016, while construction works commenced in July 2017.
The project is being implemented by the government-owned CAAN and is expected to create a large number of jobs during the construction and operation phases.
The airport site is located on the hillside, 800m above sea level at Chhinne Danda in the city of Pokhara, Kaski District, Gandaki zone, western Nepal.
Situated 3km east of Pokhara’s existing domestic airport, the location is well connected to the Prithvi Highway (Kathmandu-Pokhara).
Need for the new airport in Pokhara
The new airport is intended to provide regional, domestic and international passengers with additional flight services. This is aimed at encouraging tourism in the Pokhara region, which is one of the popular tourist destinations in Nepal.
The current Pokhara International Airport has a short runway that has been experiencing technical difficulties.