SOLUKHUMBU, Jan 22: The absence of flight announcement facility at the busy Tenzin – Hillary Airport in Lukla has become somewhat of a problem for the passengers boarding the aircrafts.
During peak tourist season, the airport witnesses 80 to 90 inbound and outbound flights per day and at a single given time three to four flights are getting boarded simultaneously. The passengers waiting for flights at the terminal are facing difficulties in identifying their aircraft and the time of departure.
A tourist guide Lakpa Niru Sherpa said, "There are two to four aircrafts on standby, we have to run around to inquire which one is ours." "From the time we enter the terminal we have to keep on asking the staff, we are under constant anxiety when we go to the rest rooms if our flights will be missed," Sherpa shared.
The Tenzin – Hillary Airport, where morning hours are the only time most suitable for operating flights, usually operates all of the flights within this short span of time. During these rush hours, the terminal building is jam-packed and passengers are compelled to wait before the ticket counter due to the absence of flight announcement facility.
Many tourists are tired of waiting and many even leave their belongings in the uncalled for rush, the tour guide added.
The airlines are too not aloof of this problem. TARA Airlines Lukla In-charge, Phinuru Sherpa says, "This has also created problems for us, we are tired of searching for passengers during takeoff time; there are many instances when we have been forced to search and wait for passengers even after the aircraft has been started."
The airport was not born without an announcement facility. A few years ago, the airport did have such facility, but after a technical glitch the Civil Aviation Authority Office, Lukla decided to just take it out of service.
Meanwhile, the Authority said it is making efforts to solve the problem, but for years passengers and airlines have been forced to undertake search operations of their own during the rush hours. RSS