Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is set to construct a separate station to enable the smooth and safe helicopter takeoff and landing in Nalinchowk, Bhaktapur.
Murahari Bhandari, CAAN’s head engineer, said that the modern helipad would occupy a total land area of around 33 ropanis and could accommodate at least 27 helicopters at a time. The construction of the helipad project is estimated to cost around Rs 30 crore (300 million). In the initial phase, around 15 crores will be allocated for helipad preparation, whereas an additional 15 crores are estimated to be used for the construction of the building.
According to Engineer Bhandari, the modern helipad in Nalinchowk will be equipped with all necessary facilities for the operation of helicopter services. With the launching of this helicopter station, it will be easier to conduct heli-services to any destination in Nepal.
Facilities and services
The facilities in the helipad area will include an indefinite fuel tank, a separate area for firefighting, a small terminal building for passengers, an office for helicopter companies, confectionery shops, a hangar for repair and maintenance, and other necessary frameworks. From the infrastructure point of view, the Nalinchowk helipad will have similar facilities as that of a ‘mini airport.’
CAAN has been operating a locator station for helicopters in the area designated for helipad construction. The civil aviation watchdog plans to build a helipad in 33 ropanis lands of the same area and bring it into operation within a year. The transport viability of Nalinchowk from Kathmandu is also one of the main factors behind CAAN’s planning for a new helipad establishment.
Plans beside helipad construction
Upon the relocation of the helipad, CAAN intends to bring into the operation the hangar area in the parking area of Tribhuvan International Airport to cater to large aircraft. Nepal’s leading private airline Buddha Air has already launched its closed-door hangar facility inside the premises of Kathmandu Airport.
CAAN’s engineer Bhandari said that CAAN would provide more space for the hangar to accommodate aircraft, including Airbus A320, A330 series, etc. Given the increasing air operations at TIA, a plan has been made to erect a hangar in the area, which is currently a helipad. Along with this, the authority will also make provisions for taxiways, lighting, and other facilities.
There is a provision for air service companies to construct it themselves regarding the hangar. As per Bhandari, Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines have shown their interest in building their own hangar facility.
Around 36 helicopter companies, including Simrik Air, Air Dynasty, Mustang Helicopters, Manang Air, Heli Everest, Shree Airlines, Prabhu Helicopters, Fishtail, etc., are conducting rotor wing services from Tribhuvan International Airport. The use of the same airport for domestic and international flights as well as helicopter operations has contributed to heavy air traffic congestion. TIA Airport has been encountering various problems like flight delays, aircraft on hold, etc. The relocation of the helipad in Nalinchowk will help to minimize traffic problems at TIA to some extent.