Locals appeal to re-operate domestic flights from Ramechhap Airport

-MANTHALI

Ramechhap Airport has remained out of operation since a year. The runway at the airport was black topped by investing millions but no any passengers movement has been observed since July 2016.

Different domestic airline companies vowed to conduct scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Ramechhap almost a month ago, however, no airline has yet to start their flights to the airport.

Summit Air, Sita Air, and Tara Air had presented their flight schedules to CAA Nepal mentioning one weekly flight from Kathmandu to Ramechhap a month ago. The flight schedules published by these companies stated that regular flights would be conducted from October 1 till December but yet the airport has not witnessed any landing till date except the diverted flights of Kathmandu- Lukla sector occasionally landing as an alternate aerodrome.

Summit Airline had also scheduled a flight from Ramechhap to Tenzing–Hillary Airport in Solukhumbu District. Before, Ramechhap Airport used to see about 10 flights per day for cargo operations. Air Kasthamandap, Goma Air (Presently Summit Air) with Tara Air used to conduct chartered cargo flights in this region. Ramechhap is one of the desired airports for the airline operators but CAAN considering the ongoing maintenance of the runway had canceled the flight operation at the airport months back.

Private airline carrier ‘Tara Air’ conducted a successful test flight at Ramechhap Airport on August 15, 2016, a year back by a flight that took off from Lukla Airport in command of Captain Ishwor Raj Joshi operating DHC Twin Otter with registration number 9N-AET.

Previously Tara Air had scheduled a flight every week at the airport but CAAN considering the ongoing maintenance of the runway had canceled the flight operation at the airport months back.

All the maintenance works at the airport were already completed in July last year but the airport at Manthali has yet remained out of operation since then. The airport has blacktopped the runway with the modern terminal and other infrastructure. The airport also features facility of refueling of aircraft with the aviation fuel available from Nepal Oil Corporation.

According to Locals, lack of sufficient air travelers from Ramechhap has caused the Manthali airport to have no any flight operation from Kathmandu to Ramechhap in the past three years.

Currently, locals from Ramechhap are compelled to travel to the capital city by road due to the closed airport. In general, it only takes about four hours to Kathmandu via B.P highway. But it now takes almost eight hours of time to reach Kathmandu via road after a landslide destructed the highway last month.

Previously the majority of the airlines transported cargos to Lukla via Manthali airport but currently, the airport at Phaplu has replaced it.
The airport is situated on the bank of Tama Koshi River in Manthali, headquarters of Ramechaap District and is the closest airport of the eastern region to connect Kathmandu at an elevation of 493 m. /1617 ft. above mean sea level. The airport has Bituminous Paved (Asphalt Concrete) runway with its dimension of 520 x 20 meters aligned to 030 degrees and 210 degrees. The airport can accommodate three small aircraft like DHC6 Twin Otter, Harbin Y12, Dornier DO228, LET L410 and Cessna Grand Caravan C208 at the time.

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