CAAN’s new investment divides opinions
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has come forward with plans to install an airfield lighting system at Dhangadi based domestic airport that will cost it a whopping 80 million rupees.
Runway lights have been listed as a must have for any airfield that intends to carry out night flights according to the Annex 14 for Aerodrome Design Manual of international civil aviation organizations. Yet a domestic level airport with an 1800 meter airstrip that has seen only a flight per day to be spent 80 million on is a case of bewilderment to many in and out of the aviation sector in Nepal. According to sources in CAAN the project had been in the pipeline for more than half a decade. CAAN, at that time had decided to use the lighting system presented by Thorn-Solutions, Safegate.
The people involved in the former project at Dhangadi point out lack of land to place Very High Frequency Omni- directional range – Distance Measuring equipment to be the reason as to why the plan didn’t pan out in the first place. The lighting system if installed then wouldn’t have been used to full potential.
Authorities at Dhangadi Airport reported the lighting system installed in 2010 by a CAAN endorsed contractor, Mahavir Shree International wasn’t utilized to full capacity by CAAN. The lighting systems made then also came with a 10 year guarantee for availability of spare parts. Runaway lights will help in flight operations during winter when VFR operations witness poor visibility. Local authorities are hopeful of increase and betterment in flight operations once the VOR-DME is well installed.
This incident highlights the unwillingness of CAAN on carrying out proper cost-benefit analysis and proper research on different other areas before investing huge sum of money.
Development in aviation can come about only if it is carried out in the proper direction. Activities as such from the Aviation governing body has sent mixed signals to the public of where will the aviation sector of the country stand in the days to come.