Nepal Oil Corporation said on Friday that it had started work to construct a 10,000-kilolitre storage plant for aviation fuel at Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa which is expected to come online by December. Currently, it has storage tanks to hold 55 kilolitres of aviation fuel which will be enough for one day if international flights are started, according to the corporation.
Speaking at an interaction, Managing Director Surendra Prasad Paudel of Nepal Oil Corporation said they moved to build the storage tanks after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal agreed to provide 7.5 bighas of land. “The authority is in the process of receiving approval from its board to provide the necessary land to Nepal Oil Corporation,” said Paudel who took office one and a half months ago.
The construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport, a national pride project, is nearing completion. The aviation authority is currently in the process of hiring companies to operate ground handling services.
The airport has been envisaged to serve the fast-rising business and industrial hub of Bhairahawa and facilitate international pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Nepal Oil Corporation currently sells 600 kilolitres of fuel daily at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. After Gautam Buddha International Airport starts handling international flights, it will need larger tanks to store the increased amount of aviation fuel that will be required.
Paudel said they expected to invite tenders to construct fuel storage tanks in two weeks. “We have started talks with a consulting firm to initiate the bidding process as soon as possible.” According to Paudel, Nepal Oil Corporation asked the aviation authority to provide land after being unable to find an appropriately sized plot and getting intimidated by the huge costs.
Paudel said the construction of the storage tanks was expected to be completed in one year from the contract date.
According to him, they plan to store aviation fuel in a fleet of tanker trucks until the facility is completed. Gautam Buddha International Airport is the country’s second international airport which is expected to see heavy traffic after it comes into operation. As per government statistics, domestic and international aircraft movement jumped more than fourfold from 24,600 in 1992 to 126,469 in 2017.
The Kathmandu Post