Flight Operation halted at Simikot Airport due to heavy Snowfall


One of the busiest airport of Far-Western Region Simikot Airport has encountered heavy snowfall leading to delay and cancellation of flights.  Consequently, regular flights to and from the Simikot Airport and Surkhet airport have been disrupted due to the snowfall.

Humla district has witnessed a sudden snowfall since 06th of February (Tuesday) night around 02:00 PM Local Time, disrupting flights to and from the district.

Regular flights to Nepalgunj and Surkhet from Humla could not take place after the snowfall. Meanwhile, normal lives in upper belt of the district have been affected due to snowfall coupled and are contact less.

According to the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the airport, to operate the normal flight under the VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Conditions the airport must have at least minimum visibility of 5000 meters along with 1500 ft. ceiling for a fixed wing aircraft. Likewise for helicopters its 1000 meter visibility. Fixed wing aircraft are not allowed to operate at wind speed more than 10 knots.

Snow on a runway is results decrease in the flight performance as it causes reduce in friction, reduces contrast, obscures runway markings, and creates hazards. From a risk management standpoint, snow on the runway (versus taxiways and other movement areas) is the leading cause of snow-related aircraft mishaps. Most mishaps occur during the landing phase, but snow is also known to bite pilots during takeoff and taxi operations.

Simikot Airport is located at an elevation of 9,751 ft (2,971 m) above mean sea level. The airport possess a Single asphalt runway of a length of 650 meters aligned to 010 degrees and 280 degrees serving as one of the country’s busiest domestic airport these days.

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