PM’s arrival at TIA delays flights one hour

Published On: September 7, 2019 07:14 AM NPT By: Sujita Pradhan

KATHMANDU, Sept 7: Arrivals and departures at Tribhuvan International Airport on Friday were delayed for an hour because of the arrival of Prime Minister KP Oli at 12:30 pm from Singapore, where he underwent hospital treatment for the last 16 days.

The prime minister’s arrival by Thai Airways at the country’s only international airport caused delays in the arrivals and departures of other international flights as well as domestic flights.

Passengers who had already boarded their planes even had to get out again and remain in the waiting area until the prime minister’s plane landed. 

VVIP comings and goings throwing other flights into chaos at TIA is nothing new. And the public has to suffer huge inconvenience. Those who had to fly to attend to urgent work vented their ire on social media and other mediums.

Rabindra Mishra, coordinator of the Sajha Party, had already boarded his Biratnagar flight. He then had to cool his heels inside the plane for one hour. 

Taking to twitter he said, “Oli jam. It has already been an hour I am inside the flight to Biratnagar and it will take another half hour for the prime minister’s aircraft to land. So is the condition of the entire airport. I have a special request to conduct a training on airport management during VVIP flights ahead of Nepal Visit Year.” 

Similarly, economic analyst Sujeev Shakya wrote, “Flight was on hold for an hour to facilitate VIP movement. Till the VIPs and their cronies stop getting a kick whenever people are inconvenienced, this culture will not stop. Smiling and saying ‘ek ghanta rokechha’ and feeling great is bad attitude.”

An official of a domestic airline, who requested anonymity, complained that they have to bear the brunt every time a VVIP visit takes place. “Three or four of our flights have already been delayed and flight schedules until evening are now haywire. This problem occurs again and again and never gets resolved.” 

Binita Thapa, marketing manager at Buddha Airlines, said almost all the flights for the time of the prime minister’s arrival and those until evening were affected and the schedules for the entire day were knocked out of sync. “Flights have been delayed 45 minutes to an hour. One flight delay has a knock-on effect on the others that follow,” she told Republica.

According to Ankur Rana, an official of Yeti Airlines, most flights at noon and later were put on hold for the prime minister’s arrival. “They were not cancelled. But the original flight schedules are now useless,” he said. 

Sitaram Bhandari, chief air traffic controller at TIA, claimed however that the flights were delayed for just around 15 minutes because of the VVIP flight and there was no serious problem with regular flights.

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