Kangeldanda Airport which started its operation from 2059 has halted its operation due to the weak management strategy. Now, the airport has been transformed into animal grazing land since three years.
There used to be routine flights but due to the thunder and lightning of 27 falgun, 2071 the tower devices were damaged and the airport failed to operate the flights afterward. Kangeldanda airport used to operate one flight once a week until the thunder did not damage the device.
Around 15 VDCs and the people from northern areas of Khotang were taking services from this airport. At the beginning, Tara Air and NAC had provided services to the airport.
According to the source, many local people gave land to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) for free and in some low costs in the aim of having air services which could help them to earn through tourism industry but due to the closure the land has been turned into animal grazing field.
Local people have demanded for flight services.
Animals grazing at Kangeldanda Airport
Solukhumbu is considered as the district having more number of airports in Nepal. Phaplu airport and Tenzing-Hillary airport are in operations while the Syangboche airport is closed. Due to lack of leadership and pressure on related bodies, the airport has not been able to operate.
Meanwhile, the newly elected UCPN (M) Rajya Sabha, a member of the UCPN (Maoist), Kumar Kukat Basnet said that the flight will be carried out. He said, “One of his priorities is to bring regular flight to the airport.”
The airport has been closed for a long time due to technical reasons so according to the rule, test landing has to be carried out again.
Regardless of the seasonal airport, regular flight schedule have come, but the corporation do not have Instructor pilots to carry out test landings. Incharge of Nepal Airlines Corporation for Kangel Airport Mr. Narayan Kaji Karki said, “The information has come from the main office that the test flight cannot be done at this time”.
Monthly Rs 55,000 is spent at the airport, but the income is zero. There are seven Nepal Police officers and one air traffic controller. The cost of the airport increases even when their cost are added.
“No one has paid attention to the expenses of the airport,” local Rajendra Basnet said, “Taxes of the people are being made unnecessarily, it is necessary to focus on utilizing it.”
Seven Nepal Police have been protecting the airport. The police team spend days by gossiping with people who come to graze animals at the airport. One policeman said, ‘There is no work here, we chat with the Shepherd most of the time.
Kangel Danda Airport, located at an elevation of 6880 ft. in Sagarmatha Zone, Eastern Nepal, is one of the iconic airstrips of Nepal. The STOLPORT airport with ICAO code ‘VNKL’ features runway of length 580 meters aligned to 11/29 degrees and is situated at the top of a hill. It was established on 1996-97 to facilitate over dozens of villages at Kangel and Khotang.