The country’s only international airport is currently facing problem of excessive congestion due to limited parking bay and other infrastructure limitations. Domestic airlines are adding fleets whereas new international companies are also eager to operate flights in Nepal.
Wataniya Airways of Kuwait started its flight operation from Kuwait to Nepal. Recently, from 1st August, 2018 Thai Lion started its 3 weekly scheduled flights to Nepal from Bangkok. Likewise, Salam Air has also filed application for permission to operate flights to Tribhuvan International Airport.
With the growing demand of air travel, the airlines are opting to expand their service in Nepal however, the airport infrastructure is limited to handle and provide effectual service to all the airlines. At present, airlines have to wait for more than 30 minutes to get landing and takeoff clearance.
Parking bay has been limited. ATCs are having hard time in providing parking permissions. Nepal Airlines first A330 was parked for almost 2 weeks in the international parking bay that adversely affected the flight operations at TIA and caused other airlines operating with wide-body aircraft to hold at the sky. Now, that the aircraft has already come into operation so the disruption has been eradicated.
BB Airways’ Boeing 757 ‘9N-ACA’ has also been parked at the international parking bay after the company procured it from NAC which has been adversely affecting the normal operation at TIA.
So, the new parking bays which are in construction must be expedited in-order to operate flights smoothly. Four new parking bays are under construction at the airport out of which 2 at the eastern side will be accommodating narrow body aircraft and other 2 at the southern side of the int’l terminal building which will facilitate wide body aircraft. As per the information from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the parking bay project is expected to complete within the fiscal year 2075/76.
At present, the international apron holds nine parking bay sections out of which first four-bay section are capable of holding wide-body aircraft (B747-400 or similar types of aircraft) and the remaining five can only accommodate narrow-body jets. The existing nine parking bays are insufficient in normal days for TIA to handle the aircraft and the foreign carriers are severely strained to increase their flight frequency at this situation. The airport authorities have to adjust flight schedule accordingly.
TIA which operates for 21 hours a day handles more than 500 flights daily, including 100 by foreign carriers, during the peak travel period. CAAN report shows that this flight movement is double than that of what was recorded five years ago.