KOHALPUR, Sept 19: Ranjha Airport of Nepalgunj is seeing air traffic and parking congestion in recent years.
The only airport in the commercial hub of the mid-western region has been handling more than 10 flights a day to Kathmandu and 20 flights to different districts of Karnali zone on a daily basis. The airport is facing hard times arranging parking space for aircraft. As a result, aircraft are asked to hold in the sky until parking space is arranged. This also affects flight schedules of airlines companies.
At present, Buddha Air operates three daily flights to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj. Yeti Airlines also operate three flights to Kathmandu, while Saurya Airlines and Shree Airlines operated two flights each to the capital city from Nepalgunj. Similarly, Tara Air, Sita Air, Yetit Airlines, Simrik Airlines and Air Kasthamandap operated flights to different districts of Karnali zone from the Nepalgunj airport on a daily basis. Flight to Simikot of Humla increased significantly during June-August season due to increased movement of pilgrims heading to Kailash and Mansarovar of Tibet.
Sub-Inspector of Nepal Police, Prem Bahadur Rai, who is the security in-charge of Ranjha Airport, however, said that traffic congestions occur sometimes only. “It is not a regular problem,” he said, adding, “It happens only when two aircraft land at the same time or if aircraft cannot land due to bad weather conditions.”
The airport has parking space for only two big aircraft and seven Twitter Otter or similar aircraft. Flights coming to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu have gap of at least 30 minutes.
Pratap Babu Tiwari, chief of Ranjha Airport, told Republica that parking problem and air traffic congestions occurs mainly because of Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims. “But as the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage season has ended for this year, we are unlikely to face similar congestion,” he added. Tiwari further added that the airport administration was planning to expand parking area of the airport in the current fiscal year.
Buddha, Yeti, Saurya and Shree airlines have one flight each in the morning and evening, while Buddha and Yeti also have one flight in the daytime. State-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) flies three times a week to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu.
Similarly, Sita, Tara, Yeti, Simrik and Kasthamandap are operating flights to Humla, Dolpla, Jumla, Mugu and Bajura from the Ranjha airport.