Friday, November 20, 2020

ADB approves $150 million loan to upgrade major airports

 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $150 million concessional loan to improve the capacity of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and Gautam Buddha Airport (GBA) in Nepal.

According to a press note issued by the multilateral development partner, tourism is a major source of economic activity in Nepal. “In 2019, tourism generated an estimated $2.05 billion, which accounted for 6.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP),” the press note reads, adding that the TIA in Kathmandu is the country’s only international airport and a major hub for domestic air transport. “The GBA in Lumbini will serve as an alternate international air transport facility for Nepal. “Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a pilgrimage and major tourist destination.”

“ADB’s support will improve TIA’s safety, capacity, and operational efficiency,” 

In addition, the new GBA international terminal will play a key role in boosting regional tourism in and around Lumbini,” ADB senior transport specialist for South Asia Kai Wei Yeo said, adding that the project will help revive the country’s tourism industry and address the long-term negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The loan will support the construction of a parallel taxiway extension and hangar aprons at TIA, and a new international terminal building at GBA to increase capacity, the press note reads.

Another key component of the project is minimising climate change impacts, it reads, adding that this will be carried out by using clean energy materials, such as the solar panels and energy-efficient lighting to be installed at the new GBA terminal building. “ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.”

Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members; 49 from the region.

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