CAAN inspects Flight operators in Simikot Airport.
Rohit Kapila, Simikot
August 26, 2016
Starting the month of May, the flight operations in Hilsa region of the northwestern part of Nepal have reached to peak and following this extensive civil flights, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has accomplished an inspection on Simikot Airport named as Ramp Inspection of Civil Helicopters in a group led by Binay Giri and Bharat Raj Parajuli. This inspection has been noted as a reflection after series of fatal aircraft crashes in Nepal.
This inspection lasted for two days on 24th and 25th April auditing all the operating helicopters for Simikot Airport to Hilsa. The inspection was undergone to check the internal parts of the aircraft, documentations that was required to validate the airworthiness of the aircraft and including the cleanliness checks and availability of first aid box and satellite phone. All the aircraft operating in this region that are Simrik Air’s 9N-ALP, Manang Air’s 9N-ALD, Mountain Air’s 9N-AKB, Shree Air 9N-ALK and Air Dynasty’s 9N-AFQ were thoroughly inspected. Among them Air Dynasty could not pass the inspection as it did not meet the CAAN’s minimum equipment list (MEL).
The aircraft was then grounded by CAAN authority for few hours until it could arrange the minimum equipments required. The inspectors also carried out additional inspection on Goma Air’s single engine aircraft 9N-AJT. As fuel storage and handling have become a serious problem in Nepal Aviation, the inspectors suggested all the operators to properly store the fuel barrels in a safe storage place. The fuel barrels are being stored in space near the helipad which is a potential dangerous threat. The fuel mishandling has led a lot of other problems too. Simikot airport facilities are getting deteriorated day by day due to Hilsa flight rush. And fuels spilling on the region of helipad are damaging the surface of helipad due to corrosion.
Helicopter companies including Simrik Air, Air Dynasty, Manang Air, Shree Airlines and Mountain Helicopters and fixed wing airliners including Goma Air, Tara Air aids the transportation of daily 100 to 150 passengers to Airport originated from Kathmandu, Nepalgunj or Surkhet. Two Let 410 aircraft operated by Goma air and three Dornier 228 aircraft operated by Tara air connects the passengers from different origins to Simikot and they are connected to light to Hilsa by helicopter operators by air.
Twin otter carrying 14 passengers makes 3 flights a day in Simikot. Similarly each Dornier carrying 15 passengers make 3 flights a day and each Let aircraft carrying 18 passengers makes 3 to 4 flights a day under favorable weather conditions because of which the passenger flow at Simikot airport has been highly increased. Daily each helicopter makes around twelve flights to Hilsa from Simikot but still 80 to 100 passengers are left behind in Simikot due to lack of flights.
The worsened status of Simikot Airport should be paid a special attention by CAAN authorities and they should bring the proper remedies very soon to uplift the condition of the airport.