Juphal airport cuts off as snowfall disrupts flight services

Dolpa remained cut off from the rest of the country as the flight operation of Juphal airport has been disrupted following snowfall in the region on Thursday.

The high altitude areas of Dolpa have been experiencing snowfall from Thursday’s morning.

Due to snowfall started in the early morning, huge snowfall at airport zone has been frozen.

Bal Kumar Sharma, chief of Civil Aviation Authority Juphal stated that no flight from Nepalgunj airport could be operated today. He said that if there is no improvement in weather conditions, the arrival of the other flights at Juphal airport remains bleak.

Tourists are stranded at Juphal airport and scarcity of daily consumable goods could be observed if the flight continues to pause.

Civil Aviation Authority Juphal informed that there is possibility of halting flight operation of Juphal airport for 2-3 days after the snowfall started at Thursday’s morning.

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 feet 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 results decrease in the flight performance as it reduces friction, reduces contrast, obscures runway markings, and creates hazards. Most mishaps occur during the landing phase, but snow is also known to bite pilots during takeoff and taxi operations.

Juphal Airport is the only airport in Dolpa district that has been providing flight operations since 42 years and came into operation lately after several closure.

At present Nepal Airlines conducts a scheduled flight each week with the Twin Otter aircraft to Juphal. Similarly, Tara Air, Summit Air and Makalu Air are conducting charter and cargo flight on a regular basis.

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