-S. SIERRA, KATHMANDU
The only airport in Kathmandu as well as the sole international airport of the country suffering heavy traffic congestion time and again strikes back with a chaos in the peak season of Dashain. Hundreds of passengers have been stranded in the terminals of domestic and international departures of TIA as the flight to board gets postponed up to 5 hours due to heavy traffic.
The domestic flights have been hugely affected due to the congestion. An average flight gets delayed for startup in an average of 3 hours and the departure time postponed further. The delay in startup sequence has led the domestic ramp in chaos too. The startup sequence reaches up to 30 and the pilot needs to wait a long time to get their flight back into the air.
This situation has also resulted in some bad practices. Some of the pilots reported that some of the unidentified flight pilot requested for startup sequence way before their departure time even before landing at TIA. The airline operators have increased their flight frequency targeting the main festival of Nepal for which the air travelers have significantly increased.
This airport has seen a dramatic rush recently for the festival despite the favorable weather for undisturbed flight.
One of the other reasons for the increase in flight frequency is the favorable weather of this season that has led to increasing flights in STOL sector of the country. A lot of tourists also find out this season fast favorable to visit Nepal and fly to different destinations for tour.
A lot of passengers have been troubled by the current scenario at TIA. The flights do not depart on time and the air traffic hold in the sky further adds the minimum of a couple of hours in arrival time. The relatives waiting for the arriving passengers are also having a hard time.
The lack of seats in the terminals, sterile hall and the arrivals make the situation messy as stranded passengers can be seen scattered in an unmanaged way inside the airport.
Similarly outside of the airport also sees a heavy traffic jams of the cabs and private vehicles of departing and arriving passengers.
This chaotic situation is expected to be persistent until the festive season prevails but the traffic congestion is a major problem in TIA that has been seen since many years back.