On May 31, China’s Export and Import (EXIM) Bank approved a concessional loan for the construction of Pokhara Regional International Airport in Nepal. A site in Chinnedanda, 3km east of the existing domestic airport is reserved for the new airport.

The project, estimated to cost about ₹21 billion (US$203 million), is set to start in September after the monsoons subside, and will take four years to complete.

Kathmandu Post, Nepal’s English daily reported: “Works on quarry identification, equipment shipment and other temporary works would be completed this monsoon.” It has quoted Pradip Adhikari, chief of the airport project: “The full-fledged ground works, however, will begin after the monsoon or from September-end.”

The airport’s runway, expected to be 2,500 metres long and 45 metres wide, will be able to accommodate aircraft no larger than Boeing 757 and the Airbus 320.

Currently, the only other operational international airport in Nepal is Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).