KATHMANDU, Nov 26: Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is finding it hard to supply Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to meet the demand of increasing number of aircrafts operating at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
"ATF consumption at TIA has gone up by 15 to 20 percent this year compared to the previous year. With less storage capacity, we are facing difficulty to fulfill the demand of increasing consumption by aircrafts. However, we have not seen any effect on flights due to fuel shortage till date," said Manoj Thakur, chief of aviation fuel depot of NOC based in Kathmandu.
"In the previous year, ATF consumption was 400-500 kiloliters per day in average, even in the peak tourist and festive seasons," Thakur said: “But this year the consumption has reached to maximum 675 kiloliters in a day during the peak season."
Currently, the NOC is fulfilling the daily demand of 500 to 550 kiloliters of aviation fuel. The total storage in Kathmandu valley is of 7,640 kiloliters. Citing the growth of consumption, Thakur stressed on the need for out-location storage of aviation fuel to meet the increasing demand.
"Considering the daily consumption of ATF, our current capacity is sufficient for 15 days only. So we need to build out-location storage as soon as possible to avoid shortage of aviation fuel," Thakur told Republica: "Though we are somehow managing to meet the increasing demand for fuel, it might be hard for us to manage it in coming days." In less than five years, the effect can be seen at the airport, he added.
With the growth of domestic and international flights, consumption of aviation fuel has gone up significantly. Moreover, old aircrafts consume more fuel. Recently, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines have added new ATR 72-500 aircrafts, while the chopper operator Shree Airlines has also started commercial passenger flights in the domestic sector with three 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-200 aircrafts. Similarly, Turkish Airlines has added its flight schedule to Nepal from four days to five days a week.
"These are just a few examples. More aircrafts will start operating soon," Thakur said.
Thakur told Republica that new regional airports could create further challenge for NOC to fulfill fuel demands as its storage facility is not sufficient.