Nepal's sole international airport Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) stared its reconstruction project of its runway on Wednesday.
The ground breaking ceremony of the project was held in the runway premise in the presence of Nepali State Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Dhan Bahadur Budha and high level aviation officials.
This is the first time that the TIA runway is being reconstructed. The current runway, which is 3,050 meters long and 45 meters wide, was built in 1975.
Chinese company China National Aero-technology International Engineering Corporation (CATIC) is the contractor of the Rs 3.75 billion (34.17 million U.S. dollar) project.
Addressing the ground breaking ceremony, Budha said the renovation will contribute to Visit Nepal Year 2020, which aims to attract 2 million foreign tourists in the country in 2020.
Sanjiv Gautam, director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, said "After the rehabilitation program, it will help us to enhance our safety level, it will increase our capacity and it will help us to have a smooth operation."
Following the immense pressure in runway especially after the earthquake of 2015 and considering the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020, the government came up with the upgrade plan, according to the officials.
Zhang Fan, the economic and commercial counsel1or of the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, said the project has a great importance in terms of connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative. He also urged the Nepali side to cooperate for the smooth implementation of the project.
The project has been viewed as a very challenging task since the renovation will be performed in the runway with regular operation of flights, in addition to the short time frame of three months before the monsoon begins.
"Our company will strictly perform the contract to ensure the safety, quality, and efficiency of the project by means of first-class management and engineering," CATIC Vice President said.