Published On: December 22, 2022 08:45 AM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel
POKHARA, Dec 22: Pokhara Regional International Airport is coming into operation from January 1.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has made it clear even after the international airport comes into operation, the existing airport will also remain operational.
Large aircraft will conduct regular flights to urban destinations. Currently, Shree Airlines, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines connect Pokhara to various cities with large aircraft, while Tara and Summit Air fly to airports with short runways, said Bikram Gautam, head of the Pokhara office of CAAN.
According to Gautam, even after January 1, there will be flights from the old airport to Jomsom in Mustang district. Apart from that, ultralight and helicopter flights will also remain regular. Helicopters and ultralights are being used for tourism activities. Helicopters are also used for rescue and relief works.
Gautam said that if all the services are moved to the international airport, some services will not be effective. That is why the current airport should also be kept ready, he said.
Sources say that it is not certain how the current airport will be used.
“The sky is covered with thick clouds most of the time. The flights are affected when the airport opens late,” said the source, adding, “If all flights are to be made from the international airport, it is certain that ultralight and helicopter flights as well as flights to Jomsom will be affected.”
Pom Narayan Shrestha, chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTCC), also said that keeping the old airport in working condition is a positive aspect. According to him, ultralight helicopters, which are used for tourist activities, fly from the old airport. Apart from that, STOL aircraft flight is also required.
"Ultralights and helicopters have helped tourism a lot," he said, adding that since Pokhara is an adventure tourist destination, these activities are necessary. If there is no activity, tourism will be affected. That's why the airport should be kept in working order for those activities as well. He said that the current airport should also be used for emergency landings, rescue and relief flights and landings.
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