US supports improvement of TIA Rescue Station
The US 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.
Earlier, the Office of Defense Cooperation at US Embassy in Kathmandu and CAAN had officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – on November 15 – to carry out the project.
The US Army Corps of Engineers, working with local contractors, will provide design and construction services, the embassy press note read, adding that the work will begin in January 2014. "The project is a part of a greater plan for TIA infrastructure improvement through the Seismic Resistance Programme."
Refitting critical infrastructure at TIA will allow the government to reduce seismic damages to essential structures such as towers, platforms, and runway. It will keep the runway open after an earthquake, it said, adding that specific areas for the programme 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 US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, the US 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 US Embassy has said that it is committed to supporting planning efforts and will continue to collaborate with Nepal to improve the airport infrastructure and make it more resistant to earthquakes.