Nepal | August 09, 2020

Kathmandu Airport ranked one of the worst in the world

Rajan Pokhrel
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Aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation parked in the hangar at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Photo: Dhurba Ale

Aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation parked in the hangar at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Photo: Dhurba Ale

Kathmandu, October 22

Tribhuvan International Airport has been ranked one of the worst airports in the world.

A recent survey released by the website sleepinginairports.net said Tribhuvan International Airport secured the title of the tenth worst airport in the world.

“TIA is the only airport in South Asia, which made it to the list of 10 of the world’s worst airports.”

Only two airports — TIA and Uzbekistan’s Tashkent International Airport — from Asia have secured their places in the list of 10 worst airports.

The ranking is based on overall airport experience, as determined by voters in a 2016 airport survey.

According to a survey, TIA’s domestic terminal is dirty. The toilets are smelly and should be ‘avoided until absolutely necessary’. “Signage and food options are inadequate, and the staff do little to help,” it said.

Couple this with long immigration lines and multiple annoying checkpoints at the international terminal, and you’re bound to have some unhappy travellers, the survey revealed.

The website, however, noted the country’s main gateway had made some improvements at the international terminal. “Kathmandu’s International Airport continues to struggle, though we feel it is important to recognise the devastation that occurred in Nepal in 2015,” said the website.

“Small improvements have definitely been made at the international terminal in the years since. However, if you’re traveling domestic, be prepared for crowds and chaos.”

Despite spending millions on expansion and rehabilitation, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has failed to identify the needs of air travellers, according to users.

Travellers were asked to judge facilities in different categories such as comfort, services, facilities and things to do, food options, immigration/security, customer service and cleanliness, says the website.

TIA Spokesperson Prem Nath Thakur rejected the survey’s findings. “TIA authority is doing its best to ensure quality service,” he said, adding that the survey was one-sided and baseless.

One of the reviewers mentioned in the survey that the airport was a literal high security goat farm and services were intolerable. “My companion and I were almost forced to bribe customs and check-in as there were at least five checkpoints to get to the gate. Customs was a nightmare and we waited in line for at least an hour.”

Almost topping the list of the world’s worst airports last year, TIA had ranked the third worst in the world in 2014, holding on to the same spot as in 2013.

While Pakistan’s Bacha Khan International Airport and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport ranked 11th and 12th worst, the website ranked Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia the worst in the world, followed by Juba International Airport in South Sudan and Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria. Singapore’s Changi International Airport topped the list of best airports in the world in 2016, according to the survey.


A version of this article appears in print on October 23, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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