NAC improvement, int’l airports top priority, says Bhattarai

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The rising Nepal

Kathmandu, Aug 8: Newly appointed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai said on Wednesday that improving Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and giving high pace to the construction of the international airports were his priority.

Organising a press conference for the first time after assuming his office, Minister Bhattarai said that he was spending more time to study he condition of the NAC for its rescue and improvement.“I am searching ventilation in the NAC, the ventilation should be open, but I am aware that the ventilation should be opened from the right direction to make the desired improvement in NAC possible,” he said.
He said that he would target and hit the right chord for the improvement of the NAC without wasting any time. “I will go in action in a month after studying the actual situation of NAC,” he added.
Minister Bhattarai said that the ministry would be open for various alternatives available to give a new lease of life to NAC. “We can even invite a strategic partner.”He said he had directed the NAC leadership to bring a concrete action for its improvement and to fully operate its aircraft.
“I have also directed NAC to replace the old vehicles that are serving passengers in the TIA,” he said.
He said that the foundation stone of he much-hyped Nijgadh Internatioal Airport would be laid down by the end of 2019 after finalising the model of investment for its development.
“I cannot think about an alternative to the Nijgadh International Airport since it is also the airport for Kathmandu where we can reach in an hour’s drive once the construction of the Kathmandu-Terai fast track completes,” Bhattarai said.
“I think the airport project is the number one priority project of the country among all the national pride projects. Therefore, I will make attempts to forge national consensus among the political parties for its development and will also consult with the government of State 2 in which the proposed airport is located,” he said.
Referring to the questions raised about the cutting down of trees in the proposed Nijgadh airport, he said that his goal was to construct a smart airport but not to destroy the forest.
He said that his focus would be also on timely completion of the Gautam Buddha International Airport and the Pokhara International Airport.
He said that the ministry would also make preparation on the operation model of the Gautam Buddha International Airport soon so as to bring it into operation by the end of 2019.
He said that the Ministry would work to make necessary arrangement to operate night flights in Bharatpur, Rajbiraj and Surkhet airports.
Minister Bhattarai said that preservation and timely completion of the reconstruction of the heritages and amendment to the acts and regulations would also get high priority.