Bharatpur-KTM air route stays costliest

Chinta Mani Poudel

Chitwan, July 28:

Passengers traveling from Bharatpur to Kathmandu by air pay more fare than people travelling

to any other domestic destination. Even though, airfares have decreased after large aircrafts have started flying in the domestic circuit, fare to Bharatpur from KTM route has not been reduced. A passenger still has to pay Rs 1,420 for a flight from Bharatpur to Kathmandu, which is at a 51 nautical mile distance. This is more than double the distance to Bhairahawa, which is of 111 nautical miles from Kathmandu. Fare for Bhairahawa is Rs 1,600 only. Chief of Bharatpur Airport, Raj Kumar Chettri said, as big aircrafts cannot land in Bharatpur airport, passengers are forced to pay more on this route. He said that it could be hoped that fares will reduce after one to two months. He added, “650 metres of runways has been black topped for now. An additional 550 metres will be black-topped within two months.” He informed that after the completion of the runway, Bharatpur airport would be the sixth largest airport after Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.

Only Dornear and Twin Otter of 18 and 19-seat capacity aircrafts can land in the runway right now. But after the expansion of the runway, SAAB and AVRO aircrafts of 36 seat capacity would also be able to land here. Flights to Kathmandu and Pokhara are operated from Bharatpur airport, which became operational in BS 2018. Six flights of different airlines including RNAC, Yeti Airlines, Sita Air, Gorkha Air and Cosmic Air are operated daily from this airport. Traffic Controller Shiv Sharma informed that flights of Cosmic and Sita Air has not been able to be regularised due to decrease in the number of passengers. According to the engineer of the airport, Babu Ram Poudel, the cost of black topping the 650 metres of runway has been Rs 10.41 million, while the remaining 550 metres will be black topped for Rs 10.52 million.