Kathmandu, March 8
The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) authority has urged domestic airline companies to conduct flights to Lukla from Manthali Airport of Ramechhap in the morning time when TIA is shut for runway rehabilitation works from April 1.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has already announced the closure of TIA from April 1 for almost three months in between 10pm and 8am targeting the runway rehabilitation works at the country’s sole international airport.
Citing that Lukla is a major destination for domestic airline companies and it is best to operate flights to the destination in the morning time from the weather perspective, Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager at TIA, said that domestic airline companies could conduct flights to Lukla from Ramechhap during the morning time.
“I have learnt that some airline companies are already preparing to conduct Lukla flights from Ramechhap in the morning during TIA’s closure. Other airline companies can also shift their flights to Lukla from the Manthali Airport,” he said.
Lukla is a major tourist destination, especially among foreigners in Nepal. As per TIA, domestic airline companies have been conducting almost 50 flights to Lukla every day during the tourist season while around 20 flights are conducted to the destination during normal times.
CAAN had earlier awarded the contract to rehabilitate the runway and taxiway at TIA to the state-owned enterprise of China called China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation.
The government moved to upgrade the sole runway at TIA as it started developing frequent cracks and potholes, affecting many incoming and outbound flights along with other security issues. Cracks along the runway, in fact, have become a routine affair since the last few years.
Moreover, the increasing number of flights at TIA, especially wide-body aircraft, has been compounding the problem.
A version of this article appears in print on March 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.