Monday, April 1, 2019

TIA to remain closed for 10 hours daily from today

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) will remain closed for 10 hours every day for runway rehabilitation from tonight.
The repair work – expected to take two months – will affect domestic and night flights of international airlines, according to Tribhuvan International Airport-Civil Aviation Office (TIA-CAO). The only international airport in the country will be operational between 8 am to 10 pm for two months affecting the domestic and night flights of the international airlines including Qatar Airways, China Southern Airways, Jet Air, Malaysian Air, Malindo Air and Turkish Air and others like Air Arabia and Fly Dubai reduced their flight flight frequency to two to three from three to four flights per day. They used to operate flights after 10 pm and have already adjusted their flight schedule, according to the TIA authorities.
The rehabilitation works include complete removal of the existing asphalt layer – that was put on the runway in 1975 – and putting in a new layer of asphalt. The asphalt overlays were made in early 1990s. According to the international rule, the runway has to be maintained regularly, but the TIA has not been following the rule, which has branded the TIA as one of the unsafe airports due to regular cracks and potholes on the runway.
With the rehabilitation work, the TIA is going to rebrand itself as a safe airport.
Runway maintenance during peak expedition season, however, is going to hit tourism as the tourists heading to the Everest cannot fly to Lukla directly. They have to take a flight to Manthali – the district headquarters of Ramechhap – and take flight to Lukla the next day or fly with a charter helicopter to Lukla from Kathmandu.
China National Aero Technology Engineering Corporation is doing the rehabilitation work at Rs 3.75 billion. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has collected Rs 7 billion from airlines to rehabilitate the TIA as it has been collecting Rs 1,000 per passenger from international airlines companies for runway rehabilitation works since 2014.

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