The country’s only international airport experiences frequent cracks in its runway, taxiway and peripheral roads for which daily maintenance is mandatory. At present, the renovation of taxiways and peripheral roads is going on at Tribhuvan International Airport which will recover the ruptures developed on the blacktopping.
The ongoing rehabilitation project is overlaying the existing taxiways and peripheral roads with the blacktopping. This initiative could enhance the infrastructure to some extent but will not be sustainable. The taxiways and peripheral roads at TIA are erratic due to which aircraft taxiing at TIA experience some vibrations.
The parking bay constructed at the East Helipad section has been frequently receiving cracks in its structure. Poor construction at the region has been compelling the airport to get renovated time and again. Besides, the only runway of TIA is suffered by frequent cracks and the rehabilitation works needs to be carried out midnight at the time of airport closure.
As seen in the picture above, the parking bay constructed nearby the east helipad at TIA to especially accommodate chartered and private aircraft had been ruptured previously. These types of repeated cracks show the utter carelessness of the construction authorities and also question the safety practices at the airport.
The runway, taxiways and peripheral roads at TIA can be compared to the current road situations of Kathmandu which features cracks, uneven leveling and rough structures. These all circumstances show that TIA is out of standard safety operations.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is on process of initiating Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project (ATCEP) at TIA which will cover runway extension, international terminal building expansion and other utility enhancement at the airport. Besides, CAAN is also planning to change the current helipad and convert it to the parking ramp in-order to eradicate the parking congestion problems at the airport. But the projects are yet to be finalized for the initiation.
Spokesperson for TIA said, “At present scenario of Nepali aviation, flight operation of both domestic and international is at a peak level so, TIA is holding crowd and aircraft beyond its capacity.” It is certain that the holding of aircraft beyond the capacity of the airport will increase the probability of degrading the airport infrastructures.
To release pressures on TIA, some other international airport projects are ongoing but will take minimum of 5 years for completion. So, TIA with its current infrastructures has to handle the maximum number of flight operations which is the main reason for repeated occurrence of cracks in the runway and taxiways.
TIA is desperately requiring complete renovation which is practically impossible at this time as there are no any other alternative international airports around the country.