Suketar Airport at Taplejung will be upgraded so that the aircraft can land from both side of the runway. Thought the runway of the airport is already blacktopped, flight operation has not been stable for whole year.
Civil engineer Pushpa Neupane of Civil Aviation Authority performed an initial survey on Monday and has suggested removing the mound of eastern part and extend the runway further 500 meter and after blacktopping that part also the aircraft will be able to land from both sides.
Neupane stated that there is possibility of two ways landing from the airport and actual time to complete the upgrading process will be determined only after full survey. Slopes in the temple area near the airport should be correctly maintained and in eastern side, the runway need to be extended. The land area in temple side is in name of the airport while the area in eastern part is private land. Currently 750 meter of the runway is already blacktopped and 500 meter runway needs to be blacktopped.
Nepal Airlines’ pilots who have been flying the aircraft in the airport since its inauguration has been suggesting that the aircraft can land from both sides by pushing the east side runway by adding five hundred meters. Even in simple problems, the aircrarft can’t approach from east side with fear of crashing in the mound. Due to the inadequate runway length, the 19-seater aircraft only carry 12-15 passengers only.
The corporation has not been able to bring many passengers from Kathmandu to the airport due to lack of enough space in the airport. Private carriers also have similar problems. During minor visibility problems, the aircraft can’t land from western side.
The fogs from Tamor and Kawali river get stored at south area creating visibility problem but at the same time eastern part remains free so the upgrade need to be done as soon as possible. People travel around 3 days to reach Kathmandu the capital from roadways.