VOR-DME to be set up at Dhangadhi Airport to facilitate night flights

DHANGADHI: An equipment to facilitate night flights is to be installed at Dhangadhi Airport with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

VOR-DME — VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR) and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) — will be installed and used to conduct nights flights in the airport that would increase the number of flights in and out of the district, along with reduction in cancellation of flights.

A team comprising technicians from the company who will oversee the installation of the equipment, along with the technicians from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had carried out a site inspection. The technical team had gone to check the geography of the land that was acquired to station the equipment.

Deputy Director of CAAN Sanjeev Singh Kathayat, who was a part of the visiting team, said that the acquired land was found fit to station the VOR-DME. He shared that after setting up this equipment, the flights would not have to be cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

The Authority has indicated that the installation will be completed within a year’s duration. In the absence of VOR-DME at Dhangadhi airport, flights cannot take place at nights as of now, and they also regularly get cancelled during the winter when there is think fog.

Flights were disrupted for 16 days this winter at Dhangadhi airport, according to the CAAN, Dhangadhi. The Authority Chief Chhabi Singh Thagunna said that the airline services are not as effective due to the unavailaibility of the equipment.

The cancellation of flights have been affecting the travellers to a large extent as Dhangadhi airport is the only regularly operating airport in Province 7. Parliamentary member Naradmuni Rana said that upgrading the status of Dhangadhi airport is among the priority plans of Province 7.

The CAAN had acquired 17 bigha 4 kattha land last year for the purpose of this equipment installation. However, the ownership of the land has not yet been transferred to CAAN as a dispute is ongoing regarding the compensation amount. After two of the landowners expressed their dissatisfaction over the compensation amount, the process of distributing the compensation and transfer of ownership to CAAN have been disrupted.

The distribution of compensation could not move forward after landowners Yadav Prasad Joshi and Jaya Bahadur Bhandari lodged a case in Home Ministry. Chief Thagunna said that the landowners created this issue after more than half of the compensation had been distributed.

Out of the total sum of Rs 231.1 million, compensation worth Rs 80 million was disrupted.

Home Ministry has asked the District Administration Office (DAO) regarding the process of fixing compensation amount. The DAO has indicated that they have informed the Ministry regarding the same. CAAN has requested the support of all stakeholders in this matter to not let the upgrading of the airport be affected by this.