Tuesday, May 15, 2018

TIA must operate for 21 hours a day from May 21: Minister

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has asked the only international airport to operate 21 hours till 3 am every day to reduce air traffic congestion.
Addressing Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) officials today the minister requested them to make extra efforts for bringing TIA into operation for 21 hours in a day from May 21. "Problems are everywhere," he said, asking to move forward by finding solution to the problems. "It won't be difficult to extend airport operation hours, if all stakeholders work in tandem."
He also assured the TIA staffers that the ministry will address their demands gradually. "Rightful demands of staffers will be addressed," Adhikari, said, adding that they should also act professionally.
Likewise, Adhikari also directed the authorities to complete renovation of the airport within three months and recruit more staffers immediately.
Earlier, unveiling his 100-day action plan on June 30, Adhikari had announced to operate the international airport 21 hours a day to reduce air traffic congestion at the TIA.
After the announcement, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and TIA started working in war footing to extend airport operation hours from May 21, though the international airlines have already finalised their flight schedule for the season. "For thee current season – that is for six months – the extension of the operation hours will not benefit the TIA," according to a source at the CAAN. "However, it will save the national flag carrier some fine as it has been paying fine to the TIA due to frequent delay."
Likewise, 21-hour operation could also be hit due to lack of enough manpower. According to Nepal Air Traffic Controllers Association, there are only 66 ATCs at present, while the approved post is 105. "Similarly, there are only 16 staffers in electrical and mechanical sector, while the approved post is 32."
However, the officials of both CAAN and TIA – at the interaction – said that they were making 100 per cent efforts to bring the airport into operation for 21 hours from May 21.
Currently, the TIA is also under going expansion work to increase its capacity. After the completion of expansion work, the terminal building will have six additional baggage belts – apart from the existing four – more immigration counters and check-in desk, which is expected to ease immigration process at the airport that will ease passenger movements.

No comments: