Runway cracks cause hazard at TIA; four flights delayed

KATHMANDU: Two domestic and two international flights were put on hold for about 20 minutes at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) today. The airport has developed cracks and potholes on its sole runway, affecting many incoming and outbound flights.

According to General Manager at TIA, Raj Kumar Chhetri, bad runway conditions and maintenance work on runway forced the airport management to close the flight operations from 11:10 am to 11:30 am today. Meanwhile, the repairing and maintenance of the runway are ongoing at Tribhuvan International Airport.

The runway has developed a number of cracks near the southern end between Delta and Echo markings, precisely in the area 1,600 metres north from the southern end, where the airplanes touch down while landing, the TIA GM said.  He said, "Although we have resumed the operation, we may have to close the flight operations temporarily again in the interval of short periods to repair and maintain the runway cracks."

Murari Bhandari, a civil engineer at TIA admitted that repairing and maintenance of the runway was not a permanent solution to the problem. He said that the runway at the airport has been causing hazards since 2013, the time when TIA expanded its services to a considerable number of domestic and international flights.

A study report from the Ayesa Ingenieria Arquitectura of Spain and Aéroports De Paris Ingénierie of France has already revealed that the runway is not enough to handle wide-body aircraft due to its ageing asphalt foundation. Also, preparation is being carried out to invite tenders for construction work, engineer Bhandari informed.