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Int’l air traffic to increase by six times in two decades: Experts

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KATHMANDU, June 7: International passenger movement of the country has been projected to increase by six times in the next two decades compared to the current year. This estimate was presented to the Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari on Monday by an expert team formed by the ministry. 

Presenting its report, the expert team ‘B’, one of the four team formed by the ministry to study different aspects of Nepal’ aviation sector, said that international passenger movement was likely to reach four million in 2018, which will increase by six times to reach 25.53 million by 2038. 

The government’s target is to bring five million tourists into the country every year by 2030. 
Likewise, domestic passenger movement has been projected to reach 7.80 million by 2038, which currently stands at 2.55 million, according to the group. 

International aircraft movement has been projected to reach 170,200 by 2038 growing from 34,335 in 2018. At the same time, domestic aircraft movement will reach to 312,000 going up from 115,900 in 2018. 

The expert team has also projected 6.57 million air traffic in 2018 which is likely to reach 8.51 million in 2023, 13.43 in 2028, and 33.35 million by 2038 in international airports of the country. By then, all four international airports will come into full operation as per the team’s projection. 

The air traffic of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has been projected to decline from 6.57 to 6.48 by 2038, while the air traffic of under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) has been projected to increase from 0.26 million to 3.34 million. Meanwhile, air traffic of Second International Airport (SIA) in Nijgadh has been projected to reach 21.31 million by 2038 from the estimated 3.47 million in 2028. The ministry has targeted to complete the SIA in the next five years. 

In order to manage the airports and their movements, the expert team has recommended to the ministry to take business initiatives to lead them from loss to profit. 

According to the team, of the currently operational 32 airports, only four are making profits. Of the 48 airports across the country that have completed the construction phase, 16 are out of operation. There are seven more domestic airports that are still under the construction phase. 

The experts also suggested the ministry to implement operational and subsidy mechanism on the airports. The team said that airports located in the tarai region should run in the night also, in order to reduce air traffic congestion at TIA. 

All four expert teams presented their analysis reports to Minister Adhikari on Monday. 
Talking with Republica, Sanjeev Gautam, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said that an analysis team formed by the ministry will go through the reports presented by the expert groups, based on which the ministry and CAAN will take appropriate action. 

June 7, 2018 02:45 PM