The State of the Nation report, presented by the Prime Minister to the Parliament, stated that the Paro International Airport will be granted autonomy. It will also be expanded and upgraded to meet the international standards and the airport will be renamed the Jigme Singye Wangchuck International Airport to mark the celebrations of the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Karma Wangchuk said the Act granting autonomy has to be amended and presented to the Parliament during the winter session. He added that DCA can function autonomously since it can meet its capital expenditure and costs.
The Paro International Airport has an international standard runway, but it will be expanded and upgraded in terms of building infrastructures, bridges, taxi way, parking spaces, etc.
The Government of India (GoI) has committed Nu 235mn in the 10th FYP for the expansion work and a budget outlay of Nu 680mn has been set aside in the 11th FYP. According to the CAO, DCA, about 10% have been complete, and the entire expansion and upgradation work is to be finish by 2017.
Wangchuk said though the works have already started, DCA is not able to continue the works as they have not received the budget from the GoI as yet.
He added that two works have been stopped and other works would also stop since the contractors are not willing to work without the funds.
On the need of the upgradation of airport, Karma Wangchuk said, “The Paro Airport is not able to keep up with demands because more aircrafts have arrived.”
There are currently five aircrafts (four Airbuses and one ATR) that use the Paro International Airport. “Aviation is developing and Paro Airport is becoming too small,” he added. He is worried that with an additional Tashi aircraft due to arrive soon, there will be no parking space for the aircrafts in the airport.