Kathmandu, May 24
In a bid to ease the tank-aircraft fuel intake system at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the government is preparing to develop a network of underground piping system at the airport that will transport fuel from tanks to aircraft directly.
This process of refilling fuel in aircraft is popularly known as ‘fuel hydrant’ in the aviation industry.
As TIA is currently undergoing reforms and expansion, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has requested the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to provide space for a fuel hydrant system while reforming the country’s sole international airport.
Currently, aircraft fuelling process at TIA involves a number of tankers that transport fuel from the storage tank to the aircraft.
“Adoption of the new system will ensure efficiency while fuelling aircraft, especially in the backdrop of some aircraft having high capacity fuel tanks that requires NOC to use multiple tankers for fuelling aviation turbine fuel (ATF),” said Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC.
Citing that though developing the fuel hydrant system requires a huge budget, it is crucial to ensure safety at TIA, Bhattarai said that MoCTCA should highly prioritise this plan and address it through upcoming budget.
As NOC has limited fuel refilling equipment at TIA, Bhattarai said that supplying fuel to aircraft through pipeline will reduce the demand for such refilling equipment.
Expansion and standardisation of fuel storage and refilling facility at TIA is crucial also to address the soaring demand of ATF at TIA following extension in the operational hours of TIA to 21 hours a day, according to NOC.
Meanwhile, MoCTCA also believes that it is necessary to develop an underground fuel storage facility at TIA to reduce the risk of accidents.
A few days back, Rabindra Adhikari, the minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation, had said that the government is coordinating with NOC to develop underground fuel storage facility at TIA.
Backing Adhikari’s plan, Rajkumar Chhetri, general manager at TIA, said that in the long run the fuel storage tanks at TIA should be converted into an underground storage facility.
“Fuel hydrant system is efficient while filling fuel in aircraft. However, all fuel tanks should be developed underground to minimise the risk of accidents at TIA,” said Chhetri.
Moreover, Chhetri also informed that TIA is ready to provide necessary land for the development of underground fuel storage tanks in the northern part of the domestic terminal building.
A version of this article appears in print on May 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.