Extended hours of Tribhuvan Int’l Airport ineffective at the moment

Raj Kumar Chhetri, General Manager at Tribhuvan International Airport said, airlines are operating as per their earlier schedule currently which has led to no schedule flights during the extension tenure. TIA was made available for 21 hours extending 3 hours since 21st may and now it remains open for business in between 6:00 am and 3:00 am the next day.

The decision seems to be made in rush without well preparation, stated one of the TIA official. It had been more than two weeks of extended hours being launched where Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and other government officials had given impression that the congestion at TIA would be a thing of past the very next day but still there is no change in traffic situation. And the staffs had nothing to do between midnight and 3:00 am.

Many officials of the industry were happy during the launching of the extension hours and are optimistic that it would help to cope up with the existing congestion problem in the near coming days.

NAC had landed one international flight around 1:00am on Tuesday though it was not scheduled to arrive in the extension hours but arrived due to delay. But along with NAC, Jet Airways and Qatar Airways have now shown their interest on rescheduling their regular flights during this tenure after some time.

Though nothing has been fixed yet but considering the heavy traffic at the TIA starting late afternoon, the airline is deliberating over rescheduling its late night flights in between extended hours, said Bindita Singh, media and marketing head of Qatar Airways Nepal Office.

The NAC official have also confirmed the plan of the national flag carrier to operate its fleets in extended hours and NAC Spokesperson Rabindra Shrestha has also said that they will execute regular flights during extended tenure probably after four months.

Operating intl’ flights in the extended time at TIA is not a big deal, stated Shrestha. As all intl’ airports normally revise their flight schedules only every six months, getting a slot for landing, takeoff and parking in the foreign destination which are out of regular schedule is very difficult.

Currently, there are altogether 30 intl’ carriers and 20 domestic airlines (including helicopter companies) which operates to and from TIA. The airport handles approximately 400 take-offs and landing a day- both domestic and intl’. However, the TIA has capacity of handling 1,500 passengers at once, but it is forced to deal with around 2,500 passengers during peak hours at present.

The Ministry should also focus on improving facilities like parking, firefighting, customs, safety and security as just extending operation hours at the airport will not be commendable if the authority don’t provide other chained services 24/7.

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