AOAN slams decision to remove diesel buses from TIA
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 8
The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) plans to remove diesel ramp buses that are used to transport passengers to the aircraft and to the terminal building, and replace them with electric variants.
Based on the same decision, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has also sent letters to all the airlines companies to replace their vehicles with electric vehicles.
As mentioned in the letter, diesel buses will be removed and replaced by electric buses.
The CAAN has also directed the companies to submit a report of their existing vehicles, including pollution measurement of the existing buses, the number of seats in each vehicle, the year of purchase and the type of vehicle.
However, the airline operators have objected to the government’s decision.
Issuing a statement today, Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) has said that it will be impossible to implement the plan to put additional burden on the airlines which are struggling just to recover from the losses induced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Captain Rameshwar Thapa, president of the AOAN, said that the airlines that have lost more than Rs 17.50 billion till date due to the pandemic are in no position to shell out additional funds to purchase new electric buses.
Alleging a conspiracy to bring in private sector to operate ramp buses within the airport, he said that the recent decision is similar to the incident of 2003, when CAAN had tried to get the private sector involved to operate buses within the airport. Even at that time, the process was halted after strong protest from the airline companies.
According to the AOAN, most domestic airlines now use their own buses to transport passengers from terminals to aeroplanes. In international flights, the Nepal Airlines Corporation has taken charge of it.
According to AOAN, the ramp buses and other vehicles operating within the airport are fully compliant with the pollution standards set by the Department of Transport Management and they have also purchased third party insurance.
“The plan to replace diesel buses also means the buses will become unusable and investments worth millions of rupees of the airline firms will be lost,” AOAN claimed.