Nepal’s second international airport will start its operation in May, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation said recently.

Located in central Tarai, the airport is the gateway to the international pilgrimage destination of Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. The operation of the airport will open up new routes, options, and feasibility for flights in and out of the country.

All international flights can take off and land at the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) from May 26, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, Nepal’s Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Ale informed while inspecting the airport under construction in Bhairahawa, situated in Western Nepal.

If there is any technical problem in the plane flying in the Nepali sky, the situation of diverting the aeroplane to Kathmandu for emergency landing will come to an end. At present, there is no alternative to returning to the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for an emergency landing. For emergency landings, the planes will not have to be either diverted to India or head to the Kathmandu airport once GBIA comes into operation.

Currently, only TIA has emergency landing facilities with ‘foam and fire’ vehicles. Arrangements have been made at GBIA for its operation. The GBIA, which is being prepared for operation, also has minimum standards required for an emergency landing as per the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards. Aircraft that could not land in Kathmandu due to problems and adverse weather will now be able to land safely in Bhairahawa.