Kathmandu, June 16
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has decided to continue with regular flights on the Ramechhap-Lukla route even after the completion of the runway rehabilitation works of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). After operating flights smoothly in this spring season CAAN has decided to give continuity to regular flights on the sector in the coming days.
Flights to Lukla are being diverted from TIA to Manthali Airport in Ramechhap since April 1 due to the renovation works of TIA runway as an alternative route till June 30. However, taking into consideration the convenience for passengers and public demand, CAAN has decided to allow airline companies to operate regular flights in Ramechhap-Lukla route.
“The flights were operated smoothly in this season. Moreover, we have received good feedback from airline companies. So, we have decided to continue flights on this route,” said Rajan Pokharel, officiating director general of CAAN.
He further said that giving continuity to flights on this sector will also help reduce congestion at TIA.
“During the mountaineering season there are around 50 flights every day to Lukla from Kathmandu, which ultimately creates congestion. If we could transfer those flights to Ramechhap it would be beneficial for the airport management, airline companies and passengers,” he added.
Meanwhile, CAAN has also written a request letter to the respective airline companies to continue their commercial flights on this route. Currently, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Tara Air, Sita Air and Summit Air are operating flights to Lukla. “It is a daunting task to manage operations at TIA during the mountaineering season due to the increasing number of passengers.
Hence, we have sent a request letter to all airline companies to operate flights to Lukla via Ramechhap next season too,” Pokharel said.
The airline companies are also positive about operating Lukla flights via Ramechhap. “We have operated smooth flights in this season. Unlike in TIA we did not face any problems regarding flight congestion or flight delay,” said Rapke Tshering Sherpa, senior manager of Tara Air. He further said that airline companies are positive of the country’s civil aviation regulator’s decision and are preparing to operate Lukla flights via Ramechhap next season too.
“However, the infrastructure of the airport needs a lot of renovation.
If CAAN could manage infrastructure we will definitely continue the flights,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pokharel said that some infrastructure at Manthali Airport will be renovated immediately and the remaining infrastructure will be renovated accordingly in the next fiscal year.
A version of this article appears in print on June 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.