Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is preparing to add fuel bowser for Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in aim of reducing waiting time for refueling. As per the information, the corporation has already initiated processes for the procurement of refuelers.
International and domestic flight frequency at TIA is increasing in a rapid pace and aircraft are having to wait for 30 to 45 minutes for refueling due to unavailability of sufficient fuel bowsers. It is reported that 10 additional fuel bowsers are required at TIA for reducing the delays.
NOC has announced global tender (1st phase) for procuring 4 fuel bowsers with 27 kiloliter capacity. The proposals from different company are being received, informed an official from NOC. It would take a maximum of 10 months for the 4 fuel bowser to arrive TIA. One fuel bowser of 27 kiloliter capacity costs around NRs. 4 crore.
Flights delays at TIA is happening due to insufficient fuel bowser at service. At present, there are only 8 fuel bowsers at TIA and the number of domestic aircraft are more than 50. Moreover, the same 8 fuel bowsers must facilitate international aircraft operating in TIA. This is practically very complex for only 8 bowers to provide refueling facility to such amount of aircraft.
Besides, majority of fuel bowsers are already in their expiration phase and some require overall maintenance which is very expensive.
Airline companies are complaining about having difficulty in providing on-time flights to the passengers because there is no on-time refueling. NOC says the private airline companies are expanding their fleet capacity rapidly but the infrastructures are limited. One domestic aircraft requires 15 to 20 minutes for refueling. Likewise wide-body aircraft for example, a Turkish Airlines A330 requires 40000-50000 liters of fuel for which two fuel bowsers must be engaged. So, we are having a difficult situation in dispatching on-time service to maximum aircraft, reports NOC staff.
Previously, NOC had tried to procure 14 fuel bowser but the tender to do so was terminated due to technical issues.
The process of acquiring additional fuel bowser must be expedited for which NOC must push the Civil Aviation Authority to do so. The airlines, passengers and every officials at the only international airport are troubled by the flight delays. Besides, the insufficient fuel bowser directly affect rescue and emergency flights repeatedly.