The United States Government, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), will provide assistance worth $462,000 to retrofit the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Crash, Fire and Rescue Station to make it more resistant to earthquakes. On 15 November 2013, the Office of Defense Cooperation, U.S. Embassy Kathmandu and CAAN officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working with local contractors, will provide design and construction services. Work will begin in January 2014. This project is a part of a greater plan for TIA infrastructure improvement through the Seismic Resistance Program.
According to Public Affairs Section Embassy of The United States, refitting critical infrastructure at TIA will allow the government of Nepal to reduce seismic damages to essential structures such as towers, platforms, and runway. This will keep the runway open after an earthquake. Specific areas for the program include runway integrity, navigation aids, crash-fire-rescue, and air-ground operations.
Over the past two years, CAAN and TIA have been taking great strides to ensure the airport is prepared to face disasters. These efforts include working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Air Force, and others to identify seismic vulnerability structures, perform a pavement strength survey of the runway, and perform a geotechnical subsurface investigation to better understand the geology of the airport. The U.S. Embassy is committed to supporting these planning efforts and will continue to collaborate with Nepal government authorities to improve the airport infrastructure and make it more resistant to earthquakes.