Landlocked South Asian country Nepal, has opened it’s highly anticipated and awaited second international airport. 

The Gautam Buddha International Airport, also known as Bhairahawa Airport, is located in the country’s Lumbini province and serves the Butwal-Siddharthanagar urban agglomeration as well as Lumbini. 

Details behind the opening 

Gautam Buddha International formally began operations this Friday and marked a positive milestone in Nepal’s aviation history whilst doing so. 

The airport is not a completely new build – existing infrastructure was upgraded and modernised to accommodate the increased capacity that comes with international flights and passengers looking to board and depart from those flights.

The main change is the addition of the new 3,500 meters runway that is longer than Nepal’s preexisting international airport, Kathmandu International Airport, by nearly 500 meters.

Pradip Adhikari, Director General of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, thanked all that were involved in the project of bringing the airport to life:

“We would like to give our special thanks to all who are directly and indirectly linked with the project. The Bhairahawa airport [historical name] was operated on 4 July 1958 as a domestic airport. Now, we have declared that it has been brought into operation as an international airport from today.”

He also shared his gratitude and enthusiasm in a tweet, highlighting how important this second international airport is for Nepal. 

As of now, international operations from Gautam Buddha International are planned to start on 16 May to mark the anniversary of the birth of Lord Buddha. Until then, domestic flights will operate out of Gautam Buddha International. 

Next, Nepalese aviation authorities are planning to continue work on the new Nijgadh International Airport in Madhesh Federal province. The project was expected to be completed by 2025 but has recently run into delays caused by environmental protection laws which saw the Supreme Court of Nepal halt construction in December 2020. 

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