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SPECIAL FEATURE


SECTOR: MULTISECTOR PROJECT NAME: LUMBINI CONNECTIVITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT FINANCING TYPE: PUBLIC SECTOR LOAN (2010, ONGOING) PARTNERS: NEPAL’S MINISTRY OF CULTURE, TOURISM AND CIVIL AVIATION / ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) SITE VISITS: GAUTAMA BUDDHA AIRPORT AND LUMBINI HERITAGE SITE


Located within proximity of a prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lumbini, this National Pride Project has been upgrading and expanding Gautama Buddha Airport to ease domestic as well as international travel, and accelerate growth in Nepal’s trade and tourism sectors. ADB Officer Naresh Pradhan (above, center) invited us to join his onsite review of progress on its implementation. According to Pradhan, areas outside the


nation’s capital, Kathmandu, have not yet been able to fully capitalize on substantial increases in tourism to Nepal. In addition, the large number of Nepalese working abroad, primarily in


the Middle East and south east Asia, who sustain local families through remittances, currently have to spend at least an extra day traveling home via Kathmandu. By transforming the currently operating domestic airport into the nation’s second international airport, he expects this project will enable quicker, more efficient connections, help eliminate bottlenecks that often result in the diversion of international flights to neighboring countries, and boost local economic activity. “I’m really proud to be part of this project,” said Pradhan. “Despite the many challenges


we’ve faced over the last three, four years, we’re working very hard to complete it and hope to commence operation in 2020.” The Nepalese Civil Aviation Authority’s


Project Chief, Prabesh Adhikari, detailed project requirements, which include constructing a new international terminal, control tower and fire-fighting facility; and doubling the length of the existing runway and building a parallel one, along with a taxiway to link the two. Additional technical innovations should facilitate landing and take-off during poor visibility, which is not possible at Nepal’s existing international airport.


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