Preparation for 24 hour operation of international terminal and 18 hours of domestic

Kathmandu (Rashtriya Samachar Samiti): The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) will be operational around the clock from June 2.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is preparing to operate the international airport around the clock to manage the increasing flight pressure.

According to the authority, the TIA, Gautam Buddha International Airport and the under-constructed Pokhara Regional International Airport will now be open 24 hours a day.

CAAN Director, General Engineer Pradip Adhikari informed that it has been decided to operate the Kathmandu airport around the clock to manage the increased air pressure after the covid epidemic.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale has shown special interest and activism in the country’s aviation sector. As a result, CAAN has stated that it is working for the infrastructure development and service strengthening of airports across the country, including three international airports.

Tourism Minister Ale has facilitated for the modernization and commercialization of the airport. The TIA is about to come into operation 24 hours a day during the tenure of Minister Ale.

“CAAN has made the plan public after completing internal preparations as per the directives of Tourism Minister Ale in the board meetings,” said Director General Adhikari.

After covid, flight pressure has increased at international airports and domestic airports. Increasing flight pressure is also a pleasant aspect.

The CAAN understands that the increase in air transport is also a great opportunity for the country’s economy. At the same time, there are similar challenges in its management.

Therefore, they are working together for the effective management of the airport, said the Director-General.

He said, “There is a need for comprehensive infrastructure improvements and service standardization at all international and domestic airports. It also conveys the message that Nepal is safe. No international airlines can provide slots at TIA if they wish to do so.”

Earlier, the then Tourism Minister late. Rabindra Adhikari had brought TIA into operation for 21 hours. The airport, which had been operating for 18 hours from 6 am to 12 am, was brought into operation for 21 hours by adding three more hours.

However, after the renovation work of the TIA runway started, the re-flight operation period was reduced. After that, the operation time of the airport was reduced as international and domestic flights were being cut due to the nationwide shutdown due to covid.

With a total capacity of 9.2 million passengers, TIA had carried 7.2 million passengers in 2018. Without the Covid epidemic, the airport’s capacity would not have been able to accommodate passengers.

CAAN is going to bring the new runway of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa into operation this year.

Director-General Adhikari is going to close the old 1,500-meter-long runway of the airport and operate a new 3,000-meter-long runway towards the international side.

“Pilots will no longer recognize the old runway in Bhairahawa after April. We have published detailed technical information on air routes, runways, navigation, flight management systems and facilities at the airport-related to the new airport at AirRack (Aeronautical Information Regulation and Control),” the official said.

Now, foreign aircraft will be able to land at Bhairahawa Airport in case of closure of Kathmandu Airport or any other emergency.

According to the Director-General, the tower of the airport has been operational since the first week. Bhairahawa runway has been prepared for narrowbody and widebody aircraft.

A mechanical test flight (calibration flight) has been completed at this airport.

Domestic flights will be operated till 12 o’clock at night

The night-time air service from East Mechi to Far-Western Dhangadhi will now be open till 12 am. The regulatory authority has decided to operate Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Simara, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi airports from 6 am to 12 am.

CAAN is confident that this will also manage the existing flight pressure of Kathmandu Airport and provide relief to the tourism sector which is being fined after the covid pandemic.

According to CAAN, discussions have been held with domestic and international airlines for night flights to Nepal.