A walk around Chandragadhi Domestic Airport
Chandragadi – November 10, 2016
Eastern part of the Nepal towards its south in Bhadrapur lies a domestic airport with asphalt runway of length of 1,209 meters by 29 meters (5000 feet ft) on an elevation of 313 feet (91 m) aligned to one runway designated 10/28 serving as one of the country’s busiest domestic airport. Chandragadhi Airport was established on November, 1963 in Bhadrapur, Jhapa which has been operating under Chandragadhi Civil Aviation Authority, Bhadrapur. The airport now is also called Bhadrapur Domestic Airport. The code provided for the airport by ICAO is “VNCG” and by IATA is “BDP”.
Though, Chandragadhi Airport aims to be established as country’s biggest domestic airport one day , it operates as a very small airport with no electronic equipment’s today with single runway it has no helipad and taxiway. This airport measures a total covering of 46 Bighas of land including the terminal building, parking ramp and the runway.
Chandragadhi Airport is a significant hub for domestic as well as international travelers mainly from India. This runway is not equipped with modern lightening system but the apron lighting system is installed including PAPI light at the runway. Presently, domestic airliners as well as national flag carrier are operating its regular scheduled flights in this airport twice a week. Buddha Air operates daily two scheduled flights by its ATR 42-320 and ATR 72-500 series aircraft. Yeti Airlines operates four scheduled flights daily by its BAe Jetstream 41 series aircrafts. Nepal Airlines also operates scheduled flight with its Chinese made XIAN MA-60 aircraft twice a week. Besides scheduled flights, Saurya Airlines operates one chartered flight daily by its CRJ-200 series and other helicopter service providers provide chartered flights to and for the airport.
Chandragadhi Airport is a controlled aerodrome facility. The traffic is checked by (ATC) Air Traffic Controllers in two shifts. First shift runs from the airport opening time to noon i.e. from 6AM to 12 PM and the second shift from 12 till the airport is closed. The shifts are handled by three ATC officers. But, the airport is not equipped with VOR/DME navigational instrument while VHF and HF communications facilities are installed that make efficient communication between pilots and controllers. However the airport consists of ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) which is a standard aeronautical ground to ground communication system; now remains not working since long. The airport is also awarded by the award “AIRPORT OF THR YEAR 2013” by CAAN (Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal) as the controlled service airport.
The fire and rescue department of Chandragadhi airport is currently operated by the Fire Machine of Bhadrapur Municipality. The airport’s terminal building consists of a V.I.P. room. The Airport premises of its terminal including runway security positions are under the Nepal Police Force and the fencing security positions area of the airport are under the in charge of Nepal Army for security. According to the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence (NDCEE), relatively 5,000 bird strikes occur every year, costing a huge loss to the airline industry, an estimated $1.5 billion in damages and repairs so, the airport also has installed two bird scaring devices to prevent the accident. The airport also has fuel depot of aviation turbine fuel provided by Nepal Oil Corporation which enables aircraft refueling in this airport.
The airport’s parking bay is spacious which can hold five aircraft at once. The reports also claim that there is no available vacant space for the expansion of the airport which makes it seem like the aim of Chandragadi Airport to be established as the biggest domestic operator airport is in the dark side while the construction of other airports in Nepal are running progressively.
The Chandragadi Airport has not been noted with any tragic incidents or any air crash yet now but the airport often faces with the minor incidents which occur occasionally that makes the aircraft to be grounded here. Most of the problems faced by the airport are related to the hydraulic system failures and bird strikes. Some of the aircraft overshoot the runway with burst tires and some other with minor mechanical and technical failure restricts the aircraft to be grounded. However, no other major emergencies have been recorded by the airport authorities since.
Additionally, the Chandragadhi airport is soon adding other more infrastructures too including emergency fire machines, CCTV camera and an X-Ray machine. With these infrastructures, we can be sure that the Chandragadhi airport is heading towards the progress and soon will also be the safest Domestic Airport.