Nepal | July 09, 2020

Bad weather forces choppers to land in paddy fields

Arpana Ale Magar
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Kathmandu, September 17

Helicopters flown from Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla for Tribhuvan International Airport were forced to land in paddy fields due to bad weather this morning.

Aiming to make the most of the clear weather, 11 choppers took off from Lukla this morning. However, as the weather deteriorated, the choppers were forced to be diverted towards paddy fields.

According to Yog Raj Kandel, spokesperson for Airline Operators Association of Nepal, 11 choppers were granted permission by the Lukla air traffic controller to operate flights this morning. Four choppers of Simrik Air, one chopper each of Altitude Air, Manang Air, Air Dynasty, Summit Air and Shree Air, along with two choppers of Kailash Air had received the permission to operate flights.

Of the 11, one was forced to land in Kharikhola, two in Banepa, one in Roshikhola, one in Dhulikhel, one in Ramechhap and two in Basa, Solukhumbu. While one chopper each of Simrik Air and Kailash Air successfully landed at TIA at 8:15am and 8:25am, respectively, one chopper of Air Dynasty could not take off from Surke of Lukla.

As per AOAN, while six of the diverted choppers landed in Kathmandu after the weather improved, three helicopters — one each of Simrik Air, Shree Air and Summit Air — flew to Ramechhap airport for night stop owing to nightfall.

Rainfall and dense fog has affected flight operations in Lukla airport since Friday, leaving more than 300 passengers stranded.

“We tried to make the most of the skies clearing up this morning, but unfortunately the weather turned bad quite fast,” Kandel added.

The adverse weather today also affected both domestic and international flight operations to and from TIA. While, two international flights, one each of Thai Airways and IndiGo were diverted to their original destinations, majority of scheduled domestic flights were cancelled. TIA officials said that a number of domestic and international flights were also kept on hold due to inclement weather. TIA sees around 400 flights, including 100 international flights, daily.

There are around 29 international airline companies and three Nepali airline companies conducting international flights from TIA. Nine fixed-wing domestic scheduled air service providers and 10 helicopter operators have been conducting regular flights to various domestic destinations from TIA.

 


A version of this article appears in print on September 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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