After the increase in tourist arc at Solukhumbu, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has planned to expand the capacity of Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla. CAAN has planned to extend the length of the existing runway and passenger capacity of the terminal building. According to the plan, the existing 527 m long and 20 m wide the runway will be extended to 20-30 m long.
Yogendra Kunwar, an official of Lukla airport stated that the terminal building will be expanded as well with the capacity to welcome 400 people along with the facilities of bakery shop and restaurants. The expansion is expected to be completed within two years.
The number of tourist visiting Solukhumbu is increasing and the airport is being renovated targeting 2020 Tourism year, said Kunwar.
Similarly, the authority has scheduled to construct new helipad parking in the land of around 11 ropani for helicopter parking expansion. The technical team of CAAN will be visiting Lukla on Friday for inspection of new parking area to be constructed. Only 5 helicopters can be parked at a time which is currently under operation whereas additional five helicopters can be parked after new helipad will come to existence. In order to bring new helipad in operation, the airport official, the authorities and station should also be moved to another area.
Currently, the authority has invited bids for renovation of Terminal building and helipad. In tourist season, average of 40 flights are being operated whereas nearly 90 helicopter flights operates daily. According to him 130 flights have been operated by fixed wings and rotor wing daily.
Currently, Air Dynasty conducts 6 flights, Prabhu helicopter and Shree conduct 4 flights, Manang Air, Kailash helicopter and Heli Air operate 2 flights and Altitude Air operates 1 flight. Likewise, Sita Air,Tara Air, Summit Air and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) conduct total 40 flights daily.
A Solar Panel of 22 kilo watt has also been planned to be installed to provide reliable electricity to the airport. Kunwar also said that on November 22, solar panel will be connected. The electricity produced from the solar panel will power to 42 runway light and threshold lights at the airport.
A Meteorological Information Display and FLIGHT RADAR24 has also been installed recently in the aim of making flight operation safe, reliable, routine, and pragmatic.