Airliners start parking planes in airports outside Kathmandu

Aashish Mishra

Kathmandu, June 29: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal’s new rules requiring airline companies to park their aircrafts and conduct their first flight of the day from their designated operating bases came into effect from Monday.

Under the rules, the airlines parked their planes at specified airports outside the Kathmandu Valley, including Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Chandragadhi, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Manthali, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara and Surkhet, on Monday night and took off from the same locations on Tuesday morning.

Private airliners had earlier expressed their disagreement with the rule and had announced a suspension of all domestic flights last Tuesday. However, they were forced to backtrack in a matter of hours after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) threatened strict action against anyone illegally interrupting services in a sector deemed essential by the government.

According to CAAN, this rule was introduced to relieve some of the pressure at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) which only has the capacity to hold 17 domestic planes in its parking. And after their initial opposition, private carriers have now agreed to abide by it, informed Yog Raj Kandel, spokesperson for the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN).

“Airlines conducted their first flights from the selected airports on Tuesday,” Kandel told The Rising Nepal. “All operators may not have implemented it on the first day itself but we will gradually move forward and enforce it completely.”

Similarly, Dipendra Kumar Karna, communication manager of Buddha Air, said that his airline had also fully embraced the new rule.

Karna informed that Buddha, which is the largest private carrier in the country, conducted its first flights from the airports at Dhangadhi, Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Janakpur and Simara on Tuesday. However, flights from the first three were disrupted due to bad weather.

“The lack of infrastructure including hangars and wild animals create challenges for night-time parking and first flights at some of these airports but we are working to solve them,” he said.

Meanwhile, heavy rains disrupted flights all across the country on Tuesday.

In addition to the above-mentioned airports, Buddha Air’s Karna informed flights to and from Biratnagar, Surkhet and Tumlingtar had also been disturbed due to the morning’s downpour. Similarly, as per the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), flights to Lukla were also affected.

In Kathmandu, only flights under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) system took place. IFR are rules which allow properly equipped aircraft to be flown under instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).TheRisingNepal

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