Pokhara International Airport and its anticipated gains to the economy

Pokhara International Airport and its anticipated gains to the economy

April 21, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 19, April 22,2016 (Baisakh 10,2073)

With our prime minister laying the foundation for new international airport of Pokhara, 2073 could indicate a year with good possibilities for the economy. The Indian blockade has at least initiated the government in Kathmandu to diversify its trade and transportation points to the outside world. This is one of the major reasons why a new international airport is being pushed to fast track.  Following decade of slumber, government has finally begun construction of a new international airport in the tourist heart of the country, Pokhara.

Nepal already possesses an international airport which too falls under one of the most poorly managed category in the world. If the current scenario with political turmoil and frequent disputes persist, construction of this airport could take another 10 years. But as a nation ravaged by the devastating earthquake and blockade, we need to prioritize the economic growth that could be reaped from these constructions keeping aside any impediments.

An international airport in Pokhara would be a major achievement to the economy. The benefit is definitely going to multiply over a couple of sectors. The first advantage could be witnessed in terms of the number of tourist inflow in the country. The airport would accommodate additional flights. This would in turn make connectivity easier. Once built, Pokhara can have direct connectivity with regional hubs like Bangkok, Singapore and New Delhi. Direct flights would shorten travel duration for foreign visitors which would add on to their willingness to visit Nepal. It would be able to connect diverse communities, markets and people.

Airport services such as cargo could prove extremely beneficial in trade. Commodities and services can be exchanged much easily. This would facilitate ease of trade in addition to increase in trade. Pokhara airport could be a key facilitator of imports and exports for local businesses. Tourists and passengers growth through the airport would stimulate the overall district demand particularly in the hospitality sector. Such would lead to a direct improvement in revenue collection.

The increased accessibility from this airport shall fuel the tourism sector, which boosts local economy. An increase in the number of visitors would create numerous job openings for locals. This would attract people from remote districts, contributing in lowering the poverty rate of nation.  Such would then lead to consumer behavior changes and raised living standards besides building upon the foundation for better purchasing parity and consumer spending.

Among the many benefits this airport is going to bring, a key one would be in the investment sector. Construction of this airport would heighten attractiveness of business investors. This area could possibly be set up as business hub. In this way it could act as magnet for businesses. In race with two other international airports being constructed, businessmen have asserted Pokhara airport to contribute more for trade because of its high tourism potential, equidistance to Kathmandu and Lumbini and relatively short period of construction time.  

Operation of airport includes multitude of jobs. Such jobs could be created internally through employment within the airport itself and externally through the benefits brought by the establishment of airport such as increase in tourist inflow. Some of the major employment sectors include trade, hotels, transport, postal and warehousing and manufacturing.

This airport can be ideal one to the economy for it can be the catalyst of economic growth to whole nation. Migrants would then be able to fly off directly from Pokhara which will also ease the burden on the only international airport. Frequent closures of Kathmandu aiport due to poor visibility have made airlines lose millions. The Pokhara airport is expected to be a relief amidst this. It would be a perfect stop-gap prior the establishment of other international airports in Nijgad and Bhairawa.

The Pokhara international airport will have an eminent role for the economic development of the region and nation as whole. It shall facilitate better accessibility and connectivity, thereby fostering investment and businesses. The economy governing interest groups should now prioritize a quick construction followed by effective utilization of this airport. As anticipated, it shall be the airport that drives economy towards progress. Keeping its construction unharmed of any ongoing or forthcoming political disturbances, its efficient completion would only bring in gains to the already disturbed economy.



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