Indian aviation experts will arrive here on Monday to inspect whether Nepal’s only international airport sustained any structural damage in the April earthquake, officials said.
A four-member Airport Authority of India (AAI) team led by its executive director H.S. Suresh will also visit site of the country’s proposed second international airport at Nijgadh along the India-Nepal border on Tuesday.
A Nepalese official said the team’s objective was to inspect whether the Tribhuvan International Airport has sustained damage in the earthquake and offer support if needed.
But informed sources said the team’s main objective was to take ahead the plan of developing the second international airport as well as expand the airport in Kathmandu.
The delegation’s visit comes in the wake of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressing her interest in developing the second international airport.
The April 25 earthquake left nearly 9,000 people dead and caused widespread destruction all over Nepal.
A Nepalese official said: "As the second international airport in the southern border point would be more accessible for people of Bihar, India is more concerned about it."
The airport in Nijgadh, 175 km from Kathmandu, is aimed at reducing congestion at the Tribhuvan International Airport, the country’s sole aerial gateway.
The estimated cost for the first phase of the new airport, according to the feasibility study, would be $650 million.
The new airport will be able to handle 15 million passengers annually initially. By the end of the third phase of construction, it will have a parallel runway enabling it to handle 60 million passengers annually.