Kathmandu, May 21
After intensive effort, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) – the sole international airport of the country – has started operating for 21 hours per day from today.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari announced the extended operation hours of TIA from today amid a function held in the Capital.
Earlier, the airport operated for 18 hours a day (from 6:00 am to midnight). Now, with the extension in workings hours, TIA will operate between 6:00 am to 3:00 am the next day.
“Extending TIA’s working hours intends to manage the air traffic situation, especially problems related to traffic congestion. The government plans to operate TIA round-the-clock in the long run,” said Adhikari.
Citing that air traffic congestion has been a major drawback of Nepal’s only international airport, Adhikari urged the TIA management to shift flights to the extended hours. Moreover, Adhikari also warned TIA management not to issue new flight permits to airlines during the peak hours.
“It is an injustice to international flights if they have to stay on hold for hours due to congestion created by few domestic airlines and helicopters,” added Adhikari.
Similarly, Adhikari also warned TIA officials who are not supporting TIA management and the decision of the government to operate the airport for extended hours.
Also, Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, urged TIA officials who are against the recent decision of the government to quit their jobs. “As government employees, we don’t have the right to act against the government’s decisions. The government will happily accept resignations of officials who oppose its decisions,” he added.
Devkota also said that the government will frequently cross-check the services offered at TIA and take strict action in case lapses are witnessed, irrespective of any portfolio.
Meanwhile, Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA, and Sanjeev Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), expressed their commitments to standardise TIA and manage air traffic congestion properly.
Altogether 30 international carriers and 20 domestic airlines (including helicopter companies) operate regular flights to and from TIA.
The airport sees approximately 400 take-offs and landings a day – both domestic and international. The airport has a capacity of handling 1,500 passengers at once, but is forced to deal with around 2,500 passengers during peak hours at present.
A version of this article appears in print on May 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.