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Nepal: Pokhara Regional International Airport, built with Chinese loan assistance, facing flight disruptions
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Nepal: Pokhara Regional International Airport, built with Chinese loan assistance, facing flight disruptions

| @indiablooms | 04 Oct 2023, 05:35 pm

Pokhara Regional International Airport, a project which was created with financial support from China, is facing several operational challenges that are disrupting normal flight service.

Despite being recently inaugurated with much fanfare by the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, technical issues have begun to surface, reports Epardafas.

One such incident happened on Monday when a flight departing from Tribhuvan Airport was compelled to return to Kathmandu due to communication equipment problems at Pokhara International Airport.

Sources told Epardafas that the flight was interrupted after the radar’s VHF system encountered a malfunction.

Tribhuvan International Airport’s spokesperson, Subas Jha, confirmed that both Yeti Airlines and Shree Airlines flights had to return to Kathmandu when communication with the airport tower in Pokhara became problematic.

“Two planes returned to Kathmandu when there was a problem with the tower’s communication service,” Jha told the news portal.

To fund the airport’s construction, the government signed an agreement with China’s Exim Bank in 2015, securing a loan of 1.37 billion Chinese yuan, the news portal reported.

A notable feature of this loan is the exemption from a 25 percent interest rate, amounting to 344 million 46 million 85 thousand yuan. The remaining amount incurs a 2 percent interest rate, which is relatively high compared to loans from international donor agencies, typically featuring interest rates below 1 percent. This loan encompasses a grace period of 7 years and is to be repaid over a 20-year term, reported Epardafas.

Concerns were voiced when it was revealed that the handover occurred without the installation of crucial equipment at the airport.   

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