Among 29 operational airports, around 20 airports in Nepal doesn’t feature oil depot facility and airline company are bound to refuel in the Kathmandu at Tribhuvan international airport (TIA). Although fuels are brought using land transport via Raxaul Simara route, even Simara airport doesn’t contain the fuel depot as Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) hasn’t provided refueling service in the airport.
Even airport with high flight traffic is facing problem due to deficient management strategy. It would be much easier for aircraft to carry passengers and cargo by decreasing the fuel weight if the destination airport has fuel depot. This problem has been incurring loss to the airline companies.
The country has ability to store 8499 kiloliter of air fuel. TIA has capacity to store 7710 Kl, 280 kl at Biratnagar, 56 at Bhairahawa, 64 at Pokhara, 280 at Nepalgunj, 60 at Surkhet and 45 kiloliter at Dhangadhi airport. Temporary fuel depot is established at Bhadrapur and Manthali.
Simara, Bharatpur, Janakpur, Chandragadhi Jhapa, Dang, Dolpa, Jumla, Bhojpur, Bajura, Khanidanda Khotang, Manang, Phaplu Solukhumbu, Ramechhap, Rukum chaurjahari, Rukum Salley, Rumjatar Okhalhunga, Rara Mughu, Simkot Humla, Taplejung, Lukla Solukhumbu and Tumlingtar Airport still doesn’t contain fuel depot.
Executive director at NOC Sushil Bhattaai accepted that there is need for development of fuel depot at various airports. Establishing depots at major airports is complicated task but they have been preparing to construct depots at Janakpur, Simara, Bharatpur and other airports. Preparation to establish fuel depots at some busiest airports is being done, he added. It’ll reduce cost of fuel by 1.5 rupees if depot is constructed at Simara airport.
Weak ability of corporations engineering has also affected in management works, said Bhattarai. CAAN is also ready to establish the depots and if the availability of land is made, they’ll commence the operation, he added. Installation of depots at some airports with fewer flights won’t be made.
Beside the construction of new depots at some airports, installing new refueller at TIA is also being done. Bhattarai said that the demand for fuel has increased gradually and around 7 lakh liters of fuels are being sold daily.
Daily 180 flights of 10 domestic and 20 international airlines refuel at TIA. Around 5-7 lakh liters fuels is consumed at TIA daily. Tender for 4 refuelers have been made. Improvement in old technology by enhancing filtration system at depot according to direction of IATA is being done. Spokesperson Birendra Goita said that with international standard new technology for refueling is being added. After improving this, the quality of fuel will be improved according to the Euro criteria.