KATHMANDU, Jan 23: Dense fog and cold wave have disrupted flights from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu to different destinations of the Tarai region.
Flights from and to Tarai region are either being delayed or canceled due to unfavorable weather. According to TIA, cold wave and dense fog in some part of the Tarai region have affected flights from and to Bharatpur, Janakpur, Simara and Bhadrapur, among others.
“Bharatpur, Janakpur and Simara are affected the most,” Thakur said. “This has caused flight delay and cancelations,” Prem Nath Thakur, the spokesperson for TIA, said. “This year, the weather remained unclear for a longer time compared to past years.”
Though all the airports in Tarai region, except Simara, are in operation, some are seeing flight delays and cancelations, according to Thakur.
Officials of airline companies also say that this year bad weather has affected flights for a longer period of time. This has also hit revenue of the airline, they added.
Bhim Raj Rai, media manager of Yeti Airlines, said bad weather has affected the revenue of airlines has they have to refund airfare if the flight is canceled. “As maximum flights are being delayed, it has bothered passengers,” he said, adding that passengers from Tarai region, irked by flight delays, have starting using surface transport for their journey.
According to airline companies, only the flights to and from Pokhara are operating smoothly. Most of the flights to Nepalgunj, Bhadrapur and Janakpur are being affected by dense fog, Rai told Republica.
Mukesh Khanal, marketing chief of Saurya Airlines, also said that bad weather has affected revenue of airlines. “Comparing to the previous year, our loss due to flight delays and cancelations is high,” Khanal said, adding: “Fog is common in Tarai region. But this year, it continued for a longer time.”
Saurya has also reduced number of flights to four a day from the scheduled six daily flights in the past due to bad weather.
According to Khanal, increasing number of aircraft is already causing air traffic congestion at TIA. Air Traffic Controller is finding difficulties in handling aircraft,” Khanal added.
Nine airlines, including the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), are operating flights to different domestic destinations.