The country’s only international airport is experiencing a hectic schedule due to unavailability of sufficient parking spaces in this peak season. The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) operation department has been compelled to allow the parking of aircraft beyond the capacity of the apron. This is probably not a new problem but is questioning the standard operation and safety practices at the airport.
As observed today, two chartered private jets have been parked near the East helipad area along with the newly arrived LET-410 aircraft of Summit Air. The same area that was renovated some months ago for the purpose to equip chartered jet aircraft has now been ruptured. This situation has made the parking apron more sophisticated and vulnerable. On the other hand, the congested hangar of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is sharing its some space with the chartered plane belonging to United Nations (UN).
Spokesperson for TIA Mr. Prem Nath Thakur said, “The ongoing peak tourist season has been the main factor for increasing air traffic of TIA that has converted the parking apron to an utter mess. Currently, we are providing the highest priority to the scheduled airline operators at the standard parking bays. For chartered private jets, we are allocating the east helipad area and NAC hangar.” We are also on our effort to discourage the arrival of private chartered jets which are not significant, he added.
TIA currently features nine international parking bay out of which four is specialized for wide body and big sized aircraft and the other five for small and narrow sized aircraft. Some capacity enhancement projects are undergoing but will require more than a year to accomplish. So, TIA with its current capacity is forcefully accommodating maximum aircraft that is beyond its standard capacity.
With these parking congestion circumstances, TIA will not be able to handle the emergency situations that may happen anytime. Besides, the fluent operation of flights is being disrupted these days. Passengers and flight crews are compelled to wait for more than an hour to get their flight initiated up.
The question here is who to be responsible for this unacceptable situation. The aviation authority, operational department and other related concerns must keep an eye on this and also must act accordingly to enhance the flight operation at the country’s sole international airport. In addition, the project plans to enhance the capacity of the airport must be expedited and for that the construction companies and the monitory committee must be alert and active.