Rapid flow of pilgrimage for Mansarovar congest air traffic at Simikot Hilsa region
MAY 19, 2017-SIMIKOT
The Simikot Airport located on Hilsa Region of the northwest of Nepal has been facing high air traffic. Early from the month of May, the flight maneuvers on the Simikot Airport has grasped to peak travelling a lot of passengers daily by the Domestic Aircraft operators of Nepal. As the number of visitors increased significantly towards this region especially from Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean nationality, the air operation on Simikot has been impacted. Simikot Airport is the gateway to the Hilsa Helipad which is the entry point for visitors travelling to sacred Mansarovar region.
Kailash Tour via Simikot is an excellent journey to Mt. Kailash which is one of the best trekking destinations in the remote western part of Nepal. Mansarovar is a well-known as the holy site for Hindus. Hilsa is a small town located on the northwestern region of Nepal in Humla near the borders Tibet, China and where the Karnali crosses from the Tibetan Plateau. Hilsa is in 51 kilometers road distance from Simikot that has been busy serving hundreds of passengers and dozens of helicopter daily in this peak season. Hilsa is connected by air from Simikot Airport that serves as a transit point for devotee travelers.
The fixed wing aircraft carrier including Goma Air, Tara Air assistances the transportation of daily around 100 to 150 passengers to Simikot Airport originated from Kathmandu, Nepalgunj or Surkhet and the Helicopter operators including Simrik Air, Air Dynasty, Manang Air, Shree Airlines and Mountain Helicopters shuttle the passengers to the Hilsa Helipad near the Tibet, China border . The Let 410 aircraft operated by Goma air, Dornier DO-228 and Twin Otter aircraft operated by Tara air and Sita Air connects the passengers from different origins to Simikot and they are connected for Hilsa by the contribution of helicopter operators.
Daily around 55 to 60 aircraft including helicopter take off and land at Simikot Airport. The increased number of passengers and increased number of traffic has made Simikot Airport very congested this season. The airport ramp area is too small to handle this volume of passengers and aircraft that creates a lot of difficulties for aircraft landing and helicopters taking off and landing. Most of the helicopters need to hover over the runway while other aircraft taxi to parking area. The operation has become more complex because of which daily service of the airport has been impacted. The arrival of one airplane makes several other helicopters to hover for a lot of time above the airport due to lack of parking space.
Simikot Airport that serves the flow of high passengers daily collects a very high amount of taxes from them. The airport is located at an elevation of 9,246 ft (2,818 m) above mean sea level. The airport has Single asphalt runway of length of 549 meters on an elevation of 9,747 feet aligned to 0100 degrees and 280 degrees serving as one of the country’s busiest domestic Airport these days.