Nepal's Suntharali airport at Kotwada, Kalikot has welcomed its first flight, thirty-one years after construction began, reports My Republica. The Tara Air (Kathmandu) flight aboard DHC-6-300 9N-ABM (msn 455) successfully landed on February 11 carrying fourteen passengers.

Construction of the tiny airport began in 1986 but was forced to stop due to political unrest. In 2002, 35 labourers were killed at the construction site during conflicts in the area. Residents have also blamed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal for gross mismanagement of the project which has been delayed for three decades. The completion of the airport is reported as costing a total of NPR250 million (USD2.3 million).

However, the successful arrival of the Tara Air flight was met with jubilation from locals of the remote district, who currently rely on ground transport.

"Hundreds of locals thronged to see the test flight. The pilot was given a hero’s welcome," a local resident said to Republica Online.