Kathmandu, September 19
International flights at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) were disrupted today for almost two hours owing to problems witnessed in the distance measuring equipment (DME) and VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR).
The TIA authority kept on hold a few international flights while it diverted the others after facing problems in the DME and VOR equipment at around 10:30 am. Flight operations returned to normal after the technical problem was resolved at 12:20 pm, according to Pratap Babu Tiwari, spokesperson for TIA.
Among others, an aircraft of Qatar Airlines was kept on hold in the sky for more than two hours while an aircraft of Malindo Air was diverted to Malaysia and the scheduled Kathmandu-bound flight of Air China was cancelled.
The disturbance in the landing schedule of different international flights also affected the take-off schedule of other international flights from Kathmandu.
Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA, said that the technical team tried to rectify the error in DME and VOR equipment at the earliest, which made it possible to normalise international flights from 12:20 pm. “The Qatar Airways aircraft had to circle the sky for a comparatively longer period due to lack of immediate parking bay at the airport,” he said.
Qatar Airway’s Airbus-330 aircraft needs a large parking space. “While one parking bay is currently being reconstructed, the other was occupied by Cathay Dragon aircraft,” informed Chhetri. As per him, landing of large aircraft is often delayed due to limited parking bays at TIA.
Meanwhile, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai has sought clarification from the TIA authority for keeping international flights on hold for hours. Similarly, Bhattarai has also directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to investigate today’s disruption in international flight operations at TIA.
A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.