KATHMANDU, Feb 2: International passenger movement at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has increased by 12 percent in 2018, compared to the previous year.
According to data compiled by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the number of domestic passengers also increased by 16 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
A total of 7.1 million passengers traveled via TIA in the year, of which 4.3 million were international passengers. In 2017, the number was 3.8 million. A total number of passengers’ movement in 2017 was 6.2 million.
Of the international passengers, 2.1 million went elsewhere via TIA, while another 2.1 million entered Nepal. The figures for the previous year were 2 million and 1.8 million, respectively.
Currently, there are 29 international airlines operating regular commercial flights at TIA.
Likewise, a total of 2.8 million domestic passengers traveled through TIA in 2018. The figure was 2.4 million the previous year. Of them, over 1.4 million passengers came in the Kathmandu Valley from different districts, and 1.3 million left the Valley.
As the passenger movement has increased in the domestic sectors, more private airlines are coming into operation.
According to Airlines Operators Association of Nepal, currently eight private airline companies – Buddha, Yeti, Tara, Summit, Shree, Simrik, Sita, and Saurya – are operating domestic flights besides the government-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation.
The number of international aircraft movement in 2018 was 33,842, which was 33,362 in 2017. On the other hand, the number of domestic aircraft movement was 93,107 in 2017, which increased to 95,580 in 2018.
Each year, the number of air passengers is growing globally and it has followed suit in Nepal as well. A team of aviation expert had submitted a report to the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation in June last year, which made a projection that international passenger movement will increase six-fold by 2038. It means 25.53 million international passengers will be travelling to or via Nepal by 2038.
The government is targeting to bring five million tourists annually into the country by 2030.
Likewise, domestic passenger movement has been expected to reach 7.8 million by 2038, according to the report. International aircraft movement has been projected to reach 170,200 by 2038, growing from 33,842 in 2018. At the same time, domestic aircraft movement will reach to 312,000 going up from 95,580 in 2018.
With the increasing number of air passengers, CAAN is looking forward to diverting air traffic into other regional and international airports that are currently under construction phase.