KATHMANDU: State-owned Aeronautical Radio of Thailand has won the $4.83 million contract to install communications, navigation and surveillance and air traffic management systems at Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa.

Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, and Nuttawat Supanundha, executive vice president (engineering) of the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations on Thursday.

As per the agreement, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand needs to complete the navigation system by December.

Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, a state enterprise under Thailand’s Ministry of Transport, quoted the lowest price among the three shortlisted bidders that included GECI Espanola of Spain and a joint venture of MSI-Aeronav. The navigation system is the second phase of the airport project.

The government had planned to commence commercial operation of the airport by August; but due to delays in the implementation of the second phase, the launch was pushed back to the end of 2019. The project plans to open the airport’s 3,000-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway for domestic flights this month.

According to the project, the airport will be equipped with an Instrument Landing System which allows approach and landing even in poor weather conditions.

There are different standards of Instrument Landing System, namely CAT I, CAT II and CAT III. Aircraft can land at the airport under the CAT I system when visibility is 550 metres.

Under CAT II, planes can land when visibility is 350 metres. The aviation authority has chosen to install CAT II.

The civil works contract worth Rs6.22 billion was awarded to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group in November 2013. The airport was initially slated to be ready by December 2017.

However, fuel and building material shortages due to the months-long Tarai banda in 2015 delayed the upgradation works by six months, and its operation deadline was revised to June 2018.