Pokhara International Airport: First flight on Pokhara-Varanasi route

Published On: December 20, 2022 10:30 AM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

International flight first priority: Pokhara’s businessmen

POKHARA, Dec 20: Buddha Air, a leading private sector airline company of Nepal, is all set to operate the first flight from Pokhara Regional International Airport on January 1, when the newly-upgraded airport will come into operation. Buddha Air has prepared its flight schedule for the first flight from Pokhara to Varanasi of  India on the first day of the English New Year (January 1, 2023).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulatory body of the aviation sector of the country, has confirmed that the first flight from Pokhara Regional International Airport will be on the Pokhara-Varanasi route. Gyanendra Bhul, information officer of the authority, informed Republica that Buddha Air will conduct the first flight along the Pokhara-Varanasi route. According to him, international flights to and from Pokhara Regional International Airport will start on January 1 with Buddha Air's Pokhara-Varanasi flight.                                                    

"Pokhara Regional International Airport will start operation with international flights," Bhul said, adding, “Domestic flights will also take place from the same day.”

According to him, Buddha Air has already submitted an application to the authority to start flights on the Pokhara-Varanasi route. The people of Pokhara had also demanded that the operation of the Pokhara Regional International Airport should start with international flights. They said that international flights are necessary to spread a positive message about Pokhara.

According to information officer Bhul, flights from Pokhara Regional International Airport will be operated only during the afternoon for the time being. As the final report of the calibration flight (mechanical test) has not arrived and some preparations have not been made, there will be no flights during the night time. He said that night flights will start only after one month.

According to him, take-offs and landings at Pokhara Regional International Airport in the initial phase will be according to Visual Flight Rules (VFR). He said that Instrumental Flight Rule (IFR) will take about one month. VFR take-off and landing requires ground visibility of 5 km.

Under normal circumstances, take-offs and landing are done through VFR. According to this rule, the take-off and landing of the aircraft is faster. Because of this, the pilot can take off and land the aircraft in coordination with the control tower. However, if it is not possible to land the flight according to VFR rules when the weather deteriorates, they will fly by IFR. Pilots rely on technology for take-off and  landing through IFR.

“Even though it is an international airport, flights and landings will still be made through VFR for some time. After one month, operations will be started from IFR," said Bhul, "although the final report of the calibration flight has not come, but since the date of the airport inauguration has been set, flights and landings will be started from VFR."

The aircraft can take off and land at the airport only during the afternoon when taking off and landing with VFR. Technicians say that visibility is also necessary in IFR, but the technology can be used to fly and land even at night.

Buddha Air’s Information Officer Dipendra Kumar Karna said that Buddha Air has made all preparations for the Pokhara-Varanasi flight on January 1. The process for route permission has also been initiated. "We have started the necessary process. We have made all the preparations. Pokhara-Varanasi is our first goal," said Karna, "If we get permission from all sides, we will conduct the first Pokhara-Varanasi first flight on January 1.”

People of Pokhara also said that since the first flight is an international flight, it will give a positive message. Pom Narayan Shrestha, chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC), said that the first flight has been planned along the international route as per the demand of Pokhara. 

"We are not looking for a third country. If Pokhara can connect to Indian cities through direct flights, it will have a positive effect on tourism," Shrestha said, "Tourism entrepreneurs are eagerly waiting for the first flight between Pokhara and Varanasi."

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will inaugurate the airport on January 1. 

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