Biratnagar Airport ill-equipped to cope with natural catastrophe

On the recent video clip of Biratnagar Airport, Nepal Army along with various officers was seen cleaning the airport ramp with the help of shovel and board which is pretty unpractical. The Airport received the ICAO and CAAN Standard on mid-April this year but lacks the modern cleaning equipment.

Biratnagar Airport, one of the country’s busiest domestic Airports in the eastern part of the country has been shut down since Friday halting all the flight operation due to continuous downpour resulting unruly flooding. The airport officials were struggling to salvage the documents stored in the ground floor and cleaning the airport.

As per the latest update from Airport officials, the polishing of the airport needs more four days. After completion of cleaning the airport, the runway lights, Taxi lights, VOR-DME equipment, PAPI Lights and all the electrical appliances will be investigated for any flaws and then airport will resume its service. The airport is expected to still be inoperative for a week.

The country’s busiest domestic Airport is closed for a week due to lack of proper equipment. The airport has halted around 12-20 flights which is the huge loss of revenue and many more. This situation has questioned CAAN and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation on why the airports of Nepal are behind the international standard. Cleaning the airport with shovel and Boards is not the Standard Cleaning Procedure for airport and also requires hefty time and huge manpower.

Though, Biratnagar Airport is the first Domestic airport to acquire the Aerodrome Certificate in Nepal and also meets the ICAO and CAAN Standard according to the notice published by CAAN on April this year but the condition of the most developed airport of the country is lousy.

On February this year, CAAN had conducted Four day long workshop on getting airports ready to handle disaster on which thirty officials from government agencies, airport authorities along with military and humanitarian partners attended the seminar but the people who have attended the seminar must be active on the airport site in current situation to re-operate the airport soon.

As the airport plays a vital role in quick landing and connecting humanitarian and relief supplies after a calamity and it has adequate infrastructure to deliver the lifesaving support to the affected communities. So the airport team needs to be well trained about the necessary protocols which include handling of heavy air traffic and flow of supplies along with the rescue officers.

Analyzing the lesson left behind by the quakes, Nepal’s airport authorities, Home Ministry officials, Nepal Army and various humanitarian organization officers had come together to strengthen the post-disaster preparedness management at TIA and Nepalgunj airport but still the airports lacks the proper equipment needed on the emergency period.


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