Dhangadhi Airport hasn’t been able to conduct scheduled flights due to presence of thick fog at the airport periphery. Airline operators are compelled to accept flight delays and even cancel flights affecting more than hundreds of travelers in province 7.
Dhangadhi Airport is operated under visual flight rules (VFR) so, visibility is always a matter of concern for safe flight operation. At present, the visibility at the airport doesn’t equal even 2000 meters while required condition is 5000 meters.
The flights were conducted normally yesterday but the airport has been out of operation today. The flights to and fro the airport have been affected for more than 15 days due to thick fog since mid-December.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has planned to equip Dhangadhi Airport with essential VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range)/DME (Distance Measure Equipment). The airport will also be equipped for providing service at night as per the budget plan for fiscal year 074/75.
ATC officer from Dhangadhi Airport said that the VOR/DME equipment could be live at the airport from March, 2018. The necessary preparations for the installation of equipment is going on for which respective officials are arriving at the airport shortly. If the airport gets equipped with VOR/DME then the required visibility will reduce from 5000meters to 1800 meters.
The persisting weather problem at the airport has compelled Buddha Air and Shree Airlines to reduce flight frequency and cancel flights.
Mostly the airports at Terai region have been unable to operate at its fullest at this winter season due to presence of thick layer of fog.
Bhadrapur Airport also known as Chandragadhi Airport is out of operation for more than four days following adverse weather conditions in Jhapa. Likewise, Biratnagar Airport is also affected by the thick fog.