(Reduced visibility, not a problem as the Airport prepares to undergo IFR operation)
Bhadrapur Airport also known as Chandragadhi Airport will conduct its Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Test landing on February 17, 2018 (Saturday), as per the information from Chandragadhi Civil Aviation Authority. It is the busiest domestic airport serving in trunk route of the nation.
Mr. Dilip Rajbanshi, ATC Officer for Chandragadhi Airport stated AviationNepal that all the installation of necessary equipment for the IFR Landing at the airport has already been accomplished and will conduct the test flight for IFR Operation tomorrow.
Buddha Air’s first flight to the airport with its ATR 72-500 aircraft will conduct the Test flight for the IFR Operation in the airport. The aircraft will conduct the test landing using the Area Navigation (RNAV) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) approach procedure, stated source.
The airport will keep the IFR Flight service under inspection and if the test is evaluated success then the airport will provide a go-ahead signal for airlines to operate IFR Flight service. The airline operators can operate their aircraft under minimum visibility of 1600 metres after the test landing, stated source.
Earlier, the Airport had remained out of operation for more than a week at this winter season due to presence of thick layer of fog. Chandragadhi Airport is a significant hub for domestic as well as international travelers mainly from India. One thousand passengers have been affected daily in the presence of such weather condition.
Currently the airport only operates Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which needs at least 5000 metres of visibility for safe flight operation however, in the winter season, the airport features only 2000 metres of visibility due to the heavy haze and mist that has been obstructing flights.
The airport will also be equipped with VOR/DME instruments soon. The instruments installation work is expected to start from March 2018. Japanese engineers from JICA came to the airport to check for the feasibility of installation on January this year. Chandragadhi Airport has applied the application to CAAN to acquire 6 Bighas of Land at East Side towards Runway 27 to install the VOR/DME station, noted airport source. The installation work of VOR/DME is handed over to the Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA the Japanese Company.
However, the airport doesn’t feature the runway with modern lighting system but the apron lighting system is installed including Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI).
Presently, Buddha Air, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), Saurya Airlines, Yeti Airlines and Shree Airlines operate in this airport. Daily 8 to 10 flights have been operating in the Kathmandu-Bhadrapur-Kathmandu based route.