POKHARA, Feb 22: The Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) is getting ready for night flights from Thursday. Until now, flights are being operated only during the day time, but now the runway will be opened for night flights as well. Airlines have also started making necessary preparations for night flights.
The airport, which has been in operation since January 1, was operating only until 4:00 in the afternoon. However, the airport has said that now flights and landings can take place during the night as well.
According to PRIA Spokesperson Yashoda Subedi, the method of flying based on airport technology is being operated according to IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) technology from Thursday. Until now, all flights were operated according to the VFR (Visual Flight Rules) technology. In VFR, the pilot sitting in the cockpit takes off and lands visually.
Although commercial flights have been operated from the airport since January 1, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) published an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) stating that the airport was ready for all types of flights only on January 12. Subedi said that since 42 days have not passed since the authority published the AIP of PRIA, they had to wait for night flights.
Based on the AIP published by the authority, international airlines can extend their flights to Pokhara. According to the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the airport will be considered eligible for international flights only after 42 days after the authority publishes the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication).
Spokesperson Subedi said that night flights can be operated even till 12 midnight. But the time limit depends on the flight schedule of the airline, he said. Manpower management also depends on the flight schedule of the airline company. Now that work is being done,” she said, “Now the airport will be operational even at night time.” She also said that various airlines have shown interest for Pokhara-Kathmandu night flight.
Buddha Air to start night flight from March 9
Buddha Air, a leading private sector airline of the country, has prepared to operate night flights on the Kathmandu-Pokhara route from March 9. For now, Buddha Air's Information Officer Dipendra Karna informed Republica that the night flight is scheduled until 8:00 pm. According to him, there are at most 10 flights in the afternoon. However, Karna said that they are preparing to increase that number to 12 per day including night flights.
“The plan is to make at least a dozen flights to Pokhara during the day and night. We are making a flight schedule from March 9," he said. According to him, after the night flight, Buddha has also planned to spend the night in Pokhara with four ships. Karna said that there is a plan to fly to Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Chitwan, Bhadrapur with those planes in the morning. He also said that all flights will be made from ATR 72. Buddha now only has ATR aircraft.