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Chinese firm wins TIA rehab project

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 14, 2018-

China’s state-owned enterprise China National Aero

Technology International Engineering Corporation has
appeared to be the lowest bidder to carry out the
rehabilitation of more than five-decade old runway of
Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

There were other three prequalified companies vying for the

project: China Harbor Engineering, Beijing Changdao
Municipal Engineering Group and a Nepali-Chinese joint
venture consisting of China Railway No 5 Engineering Group
and Swachchhanda Nirman Sewa.
Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation
Authority of Nepal (Caan), said that they have issued notice of
intent for approval of bid inviting the lowest bidder to sign a
contract of the Rs3.55 billion runway and taxiway
rehabilitation project on Friday.

“The contract is expected to be signed before the Tihar

festival,” he said. Renovation of the 3,050-metre runway will
take at least five months. The runway at TIA will be closed for
10 hours daily from February or March to carry out
rehabilitation works.

According to Gautam, they have targeted to complete the

“critical part” of around 1,600 metres of runway from the
southern side by June.

Airport authorities moved to improve the runway due to

extreme pressure following frequent cracks in the

pavement that have raised safety concerns.

“The TIA runway is the most sensitive zone as we have only a

single runway. Hence, we will let a contractor enter the site
after being assured that it has supplied 60 percent of
construction materials with sufficient manpower,” Gautam

The winning contractor will be given four months to make


He said that Caan has a study report of every section of the

runway and its strengths. “Based on the details, the weak
section of the runway will be dug out with milling machine
and then pave the section with asphalt,” he said.

In 2014, authorities put the TIA runway rehabilitation project

on hold until the construction of Bhairahawa International
Airport was completed after being frustrated by its
intermittent progress. The design to rehabilitate the runway
was prepared in 2014, but the project decided to review it
after the earthquake of April 2015.

For the last six years, aircraft weighing more than 196 tonnes
have been barred from landing at the TIA to prevent further
damage to the runway. The old runway has been affecting
smooth operation of aircraft due to repeated occurrences of
cracks in the pavement.

While cracks and uneven surfaces can cause dangerous take-

offs and landings, airline officials said they had been facing
hours-long delays almost every day during the rainy season,
frustrating travellers and causing financial distress among

Scores of flights have been diverted or delayed in recent years

due to problems in the runway. Trouble mainly occurs during
the rainy season. This monsoon, the runway has developed
cracks more than 20 times, according to airline operators.

A study conducted by Caan in 2014 had concluded that the

runway at TIA was not strong enough to handle wide-body
jets due to its ageing asphalt foundation, and distress is
caused to the upper surface instantly when heavy planes land
on it. Repeated occurrences of cracks on the runway have
been affecting smooth operation of aircraft since 2011.

When compared to the core part of the runway between 2006

and 2013, damage to the intermediate layers was caused by
the operation of large jets like the Airbus A330 and Boeing
777, according to Caan.

In 2013, there were 1,000 operations of A330-300 aircraft,

955 of Boeing 777 and 452 of A330-200, and the numbers are
expected to double in the next 20 years.
Cracks first appeared on the runway in June 2011, and they
have become a recurrent problem. Cracks were reported
occasionally in 2012. However, the problem worsened in
2013, forcing Caan to take a harsh decision to bar aircraft
weighing more than 196 tonnes from landing at TIA for a