Kangeldanda and Syangboche airport still behind operation

Two out of four airports of the Solukhumbu district are still out of operation since very long time. Kangeldanda and Syangboche airport has not come into operation till now though they were closed many years ago.

Kangeldanda Airport which started its operation from 2059 had halted its operation due to the weak management strategy. Now, the airport has been transformed into animal grazing land since past four years.

There used to be routine flights but due to thunderstorms and lightning of 27 falgun, 2071 the tower devices were damaged and the airport failed to operate the flights afterwards. Kangeldanda airport used to operate one flight once a week until the device broke down.

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.

Similarly, the highest-altitude airport of Nepal, Syangboche Airport located at an elevation of 12,402 ft in Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality has remain closed since the past decade.

The Airport was established 60 years back and has served the village of Namche Bazaar in Solukhumbu district through the 1,312-ft long dirt airstrip at Syangboche. Previously, Nepal Airlines and Tara Air have operated the flight through the airport operating its single-engine Pilatus Porter STOL utility aircraft. The flights were discontinued at the airstrip due to the lack of single-engine aircraft.

The airport currently does not handle any traffic except for helicopters that started operating here recently to transport goods. The airport runway and facilities have made it isolated with only single engine aircraft to operate through its airstrip.

Aviation Expert’s also say that twin-engine plane cannot land at Syangboche airstrip as the airport itself have made the flight operation isolated due to the limited facilities and short runway, and hence have not been licensed for commercial operations.

Solukhumbu is considered as the district having more number of airports in Nepal. Phaplu airport and Tenzing-Hillary airport are in operation while the Syangboche airport and Kangeldanda airport are closed. Due to lack of leadership and pressure on related bodies, the airport has not been able to operate.

CAAN is also preparing to construct another airport at Gudel, Mahakulung, Solukhumbu for which Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been accomplished. The Airport will be constructed at VDC no.4 and 5 which will cover 278 ropani land. The total cost of construction of the airport is estimated to be NRs 1 billion where 600 meters runway will be constructed

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