Kathmandu, March 7
A Yeti Airlines’ aircraft with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on board was kept on hold over Kathmandu for almost 20 minutes this afternoon, interestingly because the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) had no idea of the country’s executive head travelling in the concerned flight.
The flight with the prime minister on board witnessed air traffic congestion when it was due to land at TIA while coming from Bhadrapur in Jhapa.
Though TIA is supposed to ensure the smooth flight operation for very important persons (VIPs), the flight with PM Oli on board had to undergo congestion hassle following communication gap between the airport authority and the airline company regarding Oli’s flight.
“Neither the airline company nor the captain of the concerned aircraft informed TIA about the VIP travelling in the flight. Had the authority been informed about the flight, we would have made the operation of the particular flight smooth,” informed Rajkumar Chhetri, general manager at TIA, adding that the congestion for the Yeti Airlines’ flight with VIPs on board was immediately cleared after TIA was informed about the prime minister travelling in the flight.
Though traffic congestion at TIA has become frequent of late and thousands of air passengers are obliged to face congestion hassles, the TIA authority has been ensuring smooth flight operations in case of flights with VIPs on board. Due to lack of an optional international airport, air traffic congestion at TIA has become a regular phenomenon.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a study committee to probe on why the flight with VIPs on board was kept on hold. The ministry has formed a five-member committee led by Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at MoCTCA, to probe the issue.
Other members in the study committee include MoCTCA’s Deputy Spokesperson Prakash Chandra Dhakal, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Surya Bamsa Sharma Kandel, Nepal Army’s Captain Subash Thapa and Nabina Karmacharya of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
The committee has been mandated to submit its study report within one week.
A version of this article appears in print on March 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.