Direct air link between Surkhet and Kathmandu difficult

Surkhet, January 12

A direct air link between Surkhet and Kathmandu is hard to establish given geographical and technical difficulties associated with landing and take-off of large size aircraft at Birendranagar-based airport.

“As the airport in Surkhet is narrow and situated  in the midst of high hills, landing and takeoff for planes except for single-engine aircraft is difficult,” said Surkhet-based Civil  Aviation Office chief Binod Panta. The airport is being used by single-engine aircraft flying to and from hill districts of Karnali. The airport has a runway that is 1,255 metres long and 30 metres wide.

Earlier, Buddha Air had started Surkhet-Kathmandu flights thrice a week with an 18-seat aircraft. But the  company halted the service after barely eights months citing lack of aircraft. Though the company was requested to resume the service with its 42-seat aircraft, the company refused citing short runway and geographical difficulties. A local tourism entrepreneur Chintamani Sharma said the absence of air service had impacted tourism and hospitality business in the province.

Meanwhile, the feasible study of a regional airport in Madanechaur in eastern Surkhet is under way. Earlier, a survey carried out by the civil aviation ministry had reported that it was possible to build an airport there.