Inadequate forecast technology risking air operation in Lukla

Inadequate forecast technology risking air operation in Lukla

June 14, 2017-Lukla

Lacking of proper weather forecasting equipment at Lukla has been risking the air operation at the local airport. Lukla named as the world deadliest airport lacks adequate forecasting technology. Authority from the airport and Civil Aviation both being aware about the continuous incident taking place but are still not bothered in installing proper forecasting system to increase the count of flight safety. Going back to the history of aviation in Nepal the aviation industry has been hit by numerous fatal crashes at the airport province.

Lukla airport is situated at the foothill of Khumbhu range, home to Everest. The gateway to Everest lies in the mountainous region of Nepal at an altitude of 2845m/9334ft. above sea level. Officially, the airport was renamed Tenzing–Hillary Airport in 2008 A.D after the name of the first conquers of the highest peak on earth and the airport annually lands mountaineers from various part of the globe to scale the summit of Everest.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) code for the Lukla airport is LUA whereas the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code is VNLK. Edmund Hillary, successor of Everest built the airport in 1964 A.D. to express his gratitude and love to the Himalaya nation. He encouraged local Sherpas stroll up and down the airfield to flatten the surface and rewarded them with local beer. The airport is situated at the distance of 136.17km/84.61 miles away from the capital; it is one of the busiest domestic airports with 50 flights on mountaineering season.

As been reported by the locals at the region the airport at numerous occasions has remained out of operation due to adverse weather condition. At one hand the airport has repeatedly remained out of operation and the other it owns poor forecast system which directly affects the safety of the aircraft.

The airport recently was bad named back again after the crash of the Let-410 aircraft killing two crew pilots. According to the analysis of the local at the Lukla reason majority of the individuals noted that the airport was densely packed by thick layer of cloud on the day making the aircraft hard to land. The locals also listed that since airport do not possess adequate forecast system, so the air traffic officer would not have been able to transfer prompt data to the flight crew which resulted in a catastrophic crash.

Though the airport rapidly have been hit and defamed by aircraft crashes in numerous occasions but the airport so far does not seem responsible to add up the needed forecast equipment.

One of the airports operating staff admitted that the airport has long been operated with lacking reliable meteorological equipment. The airlines have fortunately improvised -using the QNH from Kathmandu, a station that is a mile lower and involves different terrain which hence is subjected to have serious errors. Even a difference in reading of 3-4 millibars can affect the landing safety margins from a hundred feet elevation.

As been reported, the airport has been lacking reliable equipment for reporting the actual weather conditions since past three years. CAAN has planned to install new meteorological equipment within a month reported a news report. But the equipment to meet the necessary criteria marked by World Meteorological Organisation is the subject to be concerned.

However, the pending installation of the adequate instrument at the airport has been alarming pilots from various operators to risk their life to land on the air field of the most deadly airport on earth.


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