Simikot Airport conducting regular flights despite snowfall

Simikot Airport at Humla has been conducting regular flights despite experiencing snowfall. Jumla, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa districts have been witnessing snowfall with temperature reducing to minus six degrees.

The weather at the present time is better for the airport to conduct regular flights. Simikot Airport Manager Mr. Bhim Datta Panda said, “The runway is totally clear of snow and the weather is better at the moment for the smooth operation of flights. At the time of snowfall, the visibility of the airport is low. In this case, the flights have to be postponed for the next day.” Also we have snow plough vehicle to clear out thick layer of snow at the runway premises, he added.

Tara Air Twin Otter preparing to takeoff from Simikot Airport

The snowfall at the region started from Tuesday hence affecting the normal life. The decline in temperature disrupted the supply of drinking water and also increased the number of people suffering viral fever. The adverse weather also disrupted air travel between Jumla and Nepalgunj.

Simikot airport is located at an elevation of 9,751 ft (2,971 m) above mean sea level. The airport has Single asphalt runway of a length of 650 meters aligned to 0100 degrees and 280 degrees serving as one of the country’s busiest domestic airport.

Photo File: Snow covered Jumla region

Under standard VFR (Visual Flight Rules), Simikot Airport permits fixed wing aircraft to operate at the visibility of 5000m with airport ceiling (ceiling is a measurement of the height of the base of the lowest clouds that cover more than half of the sky) of 1500ft. whereas it is 1000m for helicopters. Fixed wing aircraft are not allowed to operate at wind speed more than 10 knots.

Nepal Airlines Corporation, Tara Air, Sita Air and Summit Air conduct regular flights to Simikot Airport along with heli-operation from Mountain Helicopters, Simrik Air, Fishtail Air, Shree Air, Manang Air, Heli-Everest and Air Dynasty.

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