Kathmandu, April 17
The plight of passengers arriving at the international terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport remains the same as they are still forced to trudge with their luggage to the new ‘inconvenient’ parking bay, which is almost 200 metres away from the arrival zone. TIA authorities had earlier pledged to ease the arrival procedure for passengers.
TIA doesn’t let private vehicles wait in front of the arrival zone or allow passengers to use trolleys to ferry their luggage to the parking lot, compelling international passengers arriving at TIA to carry their luggage to the parking lot.
When such issues are taken into consideration, the government’s utterances on transforming TIA into a boutique airport sound hollow.
Following THT’s previous report on the issue, TIA authorities had said they would soon allow passengers to ferry their luggage on trolleys to the parking bay. TIA General Manager Rajkumar Chhetri had said that from mid-April the passenger arrival area at the international terminal would be shifted to a new zone linked to the vehicle parking area in a bid to ease the flow of passengers.
However, nothing of the sort has happened till date.
“Responsible agencies of the government talk about transforming TIA into a boutique airport, but have failed to maintain fundamental things such as cleanliness and proper luggage collection procedure,” said Saroj Rana Magar, who returned to Kathmandu from Dubai last week. He said he had to wait for more than 30 minutes to collect his luggage.
With TIA handling at least 40 incoming international flights with over 5,000 passengers daily, Magar is not the only one facing such problems.
As TIA provides the first glimpse of the country to foreign tourists upon arrival, such hassles are certain to affect the reviews of TIA and may also hit tourist arrivals at a time when the government has pledged to bring in two million tourists in 2020.
However, TIA authorities claim to have eased passenger movement in recent months. “We have already allowed passengers to ferry their luggage on trolleys while the new international terminal building that is linked to the parking bay is under construction,” said Pratap Babu Tiwari, spokesperson for TIA.
Though TIA had claimed that construction of the terminal building would be completed by mid-April, Tiwari said its construction would take at least four more months.
A version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.