KATHMANDU, Jan 30: If there is any technical problem in the plane flying in the Nepali sky, the situation of having to come to Kathmandu for emergency landing is coming to an end. At present, there is no alternative to returning to the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for emergency landing.
The Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, which is a project of national pride, will be operational soon. For emergency landings, the planes will not have to be diverted to India or head to TIA as infrastructure and arrangements have been made at Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) for its operation.
Currently, only TIA has emergency landing facilities with ‘foam and fire’ vehicles.
The GBIA, which is being prepared for operation, also has minimum standards required for emergency landing as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. Aircraft that could not land in Kathmandu due to problems and adverse weather will now be able to land safely in Bhairahawa. International flights can take off and land at GBIA. For that, we have to wait till May 26, i.e. Buddha Jayanti.
An expert team of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AeroThai) has arrived in Nepal to prepare for a mechanical test flight (calibration flight) to verify whether the new airport is technically sound or not. The team is currently working on the ICB- 02 at the airport. The calibration flight will be fixed as soon as the work toward ICB- 02 is completed. The construction work of the physical infrastructure of ICB- 01 has been completed by the Chinese company Northwest Civil Aviation Construction Group.
According to Govinda Dahal, General Manager of Bhairahawa Airport, the calibration and test flight will start after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) verifies the reports including the ones checked by the expert team of Aerothai. This will pave the way for the establishment of a route recognized by the ICAO.
A team of AeroThai experts will fly the calibration flight to find out if the flight equipment is working. For that, a special aircraft equipped with equipment will be brought to Nepal.
According to Dahal, the calibration and test flight will be carried out within a month. "A team of AeroThai experts is working to bring the airport into operation on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti," he said.