Frequent runway cracks disrupt regular flight operations at TIA

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), country’s sole international airport has been facing runway crack problem since a long time. However, the major enhancement projects including runway renovation and extension has not been expedited and the airport has to remain out of operation frequently for runway maintenance.

According to airport officials, due to lack of regular maintenance and increase in flight frequency from past few years, the problem of pothole in the runway is increased.

Prem Nath Thakur, TIA Spokesperson stated that the airport remained closed from 2:50pm to 3:15pm on Monday after discovering numerous cracks near the southern end between Delta and Echo markings affecting many domestic and international flights. Due to this, TIA had to be closed several time this week.

Experts say that the same problem will be faced repeatedly until the next international airport doesn’t operate. A study report from the Ayesa Ingenieria Arquitectura of Spain and Aéroports De Paris Ingénierie of France has already revealed that the runway is not enough to handle wide-body aircraft due to its aging asphalt foundation.

According to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the renovation of runway project of TIA is delayed due to negligence of the Contractor Company and CAAN has started the renovation project with the new contractor company.

Currently the airport has a single 10,007 feet (3,050 m) concrete runway orientated 02/20. The runway 02 has precision approach indicators such as PAPI Lights and approach light but the runway 20 is facilitated with only PAPI lights.

The sole international airport of Nepal is not equipped with Instruments Landing System (ILS) however; it features VOR/DME. Nowadays, the airspace of Kathmandu valley is encountering huge air traffic problem.

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