And Touchdown! Sanfebagar Airport chalks up successful test flight

DHANGADHI: The Sanfebagar Airport in Achham district, which had remained non-operational for past 13 years, has successfully landed a 19-seat aircraft of Summit Air on Friday.

Following the completion of runway blacktopping and upgradation works, the airport ran a successful short duration test flight which took off from Simikot in Humla and touched down in Sanfebagar at 10:30 am today.

Erstwhile Maoist rebels had bombarded the airport on February 16, 2002 bringing the Air Trafic Controller (ATC) tower to ruins. Although the airfield was functional for a few years following the destruction, it was shut down after 2005 gradually to become a pasture land.

According to the airport contractor, Amar Construction, the reconstruction works are nearing end with the completion of black topping of the airstrip. The airport based at major trade centre of the district has seen an investment of Rs 101.5 million.

Moreover, the locals are now awaiting regular operation of the flights from the airport as they hope it would bring down the number of deaths in the area which occur due to inability to get patients to hospitals on time, apart from ease of mobility.

Sanfebagar airport which came into operation during 1975 saw regular flights from 1987 to 2001 before shutting down after the bombardment.

On the contrary, the second major airport in the region, Kamalbazaar Airfield, with chances of reconstruction slim to none, has turned into a grazing land.