Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has started construction of new helipads at Lukla Airport. The construction of the airport started beginning of this month.
CAAN has started construction of new helipad to reduce air traffic at the airport. Tenzing Hillary airport or Lukla airport is the gateway to world’s highest peak Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) and during season the airport gets congested as people opt to travel via the airport.
CAAN stated that the current helipads are small and the helicopter operation at the airport has been increasing daily. Thus the authority has started constructing new helipads.
The helipad is being constructed at around 12 ropani of land at cost of NRs. 320 million as per CAAN. After the completion of the construction of the helipad, around 6 small and 3 big helicopters can land at a time.
Currently, helicopters operate from dusty a ground near by the airport.
The construction contract has been given to Kancharam construction by the end of 2018, however the work couldn’t commence as material required for construction could not be sent on time due to various circumstances.
The contractor company has now started the work by shipping materials through helicopters and has stated to complete the project within 18 months. Alongside helipads, heli-terminal will also be constructed.
Only 5 helicopters can be parked at a time which is currently under operation whereas additional helipad will help in air traffic of the airport.
CAAN has also planned to expand the capacity of the airport by extending the length of the existing runway and by increasing capacity of the terminal building.
The number of tourist visiting Solukhumbu is increasing and the airport is being renovated targeting 2020 Tourism year.
In tourist season, average of 40 flights is being operated whereas nearly 90 helicopter flights operate 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.