A team of Indian aviation experts arrived to inspect any possible damage to Nepal's only international airport due to the powerful April 25 quake besides offering help in constructing a second international airport along the border with India.
The four-member engineering team led by executive director of Airport Authority of India H S Suresh will carry out inspection of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and also pay a field visit to the Simara Airport proposed at Nijgadh in Bara district, 200km south from here, officials said.
According to a senior government official, the team is arriving here to assess possible damage caused by the two major earthquakes and the subsequent aftershocks at the country's only international airport and provide necessary support to ensure its faultless operation.
They will inspect whether the physical structure as well as communication and navigation system of the airport were damaged by the earthquake or not, said Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the ministry of tourism and civil aviation.
The Indian side is also willing to extend support, if necessary, to repair damage and renovate the airport in the aftermath of the quake, he added.
International help following the devastating quake was hampered due to congestion at the only airport at their disposal. Cracks had developed on the runway due to landing of heavy aircraft following which the airport was briefly closed down for repair.
The team will visit Lumbini to assess the situation at the site of the proposed second international airport, he said. He, however, made it clear that no agreement or MoU will be signed during the visit, as it is just a technical team to take stock of the situation of the international airport and the site of the proposed international airport.
Manila-based Asian Development Bank, is currently funding the improvement of the TIA as well as upgradation of Lumbini airport.
During her recent visit to Nepal, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had expressed India's interest in helping Nepal upgrade its airport besides asking the Nepalese government to expedite the construction of Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track road project.