KATHMANDU: The international airport project in Pokhara has achieved 30 percent of physical progress as of February end.

The project said that the apron of the airport, which is also known as the tarmac where aircraft are parked, has been completed. The apron is spread over an area of 5,519 square metres.

“After the completion of the apron, we are working on the runway, taxiway and other infrastructure of the project,” project engineer Krishna Prasad Poudel said.

The project in the tourist and commercial hub of Pokhara lies at Chinnedanda, 3 km east of the existing domestic airport. The facility will serve as the aerial gateway to the Annapurna region, one of Nepal’s major trekking destinations.

Pokhara International Airport will have a 2,500-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway, able to handle medium-range commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Boeing 757. The airport will have a 1,200-metre-long and 23-metre-wide taxiway connecting the runway with parking bays, hangars and terminals.

According to Poudel, 40 percent of runway construction works have been completed. “The runway will be completed within one and a half months,” he said.

The airport will have a 10,000 square-metre international terminal building and a 4,000 square-metre domestic terminal building. As per the agreement, the contractor is required to hand over the project to the government on July 10, 2021. As per the work plan, 60 percent of the airport will be completed by 2019 and the rest by 2020.

China CAMC Engineering won the construction contract for the project in May 2014. The government signed a $215.96 million soft loan agreement with China EXIM Bank in March 2016 to finance the construction of the airport in the lake city. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid the foundation stone for the airport on April 13, 2016.