TIA to resume 21-hour operation
Kathmandu, June 30
Along with the completion of the runway rehabilitation works at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the airport will resume service for 21 hours daily from Monday, as per the TIA authority.
The country’s sole international airport remained shut for 10 hours per day since the first week of April, as its management embarked on the biggest maintenance work of runway since its construction in 1975.
Trilochan Poudyal, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), informed that TIA will operate for 21 hours per day from Monday as the rehabilitation works of the 3,050-metre-long runway have been completed.
However, he mentioned that the airport will be shut for almost eight hours per day soon once the rehabilitation work of the taxiway begins.
Rehabilitation work on the taxiway is likely to start on September 1 and will be completed on December 31. During this period TIA will remain closed from 11:30pm to 6:30am.
The runway at TIA was constructed in 1975. As per the international standard, runways of international airports need to be refurbished with the use of new bitumen every 10 years. TIA, however, had never done that. As a result, the TIA runway had been witnessing frequent cracks which not only affected regular flights but had also posed threats.
This makes the latest maintenance work at the tarmac the biggest since its construction.
The runway started developing cracks since 2014 and the 2015 April earthquake made the situation worse. The runway areas, especially from the 02 point up to 1,600 metres ahead, had been largely damaged and were in a pathetic condition.
CAAN had appointed China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation to complete the runway and taxiway rehabilitation work. It signed an agreement with the Chinese company on November 5, 2018. The Chinese firm has agreed to complete the work for Rs 3.75 billion.
TIA sees around 400 flights, including 100 international flights, per day.
Meanwhile, the construction of the Gautam Buddha International Airport, which is scheduled to start operation from January 2020, is expected to greatly help ease the flight pressure at TIA.