TIA expanding its capacity

Published On: January 7, 2020 05:50 PM NPT By: RSS

KATHMANDU, Jan 7: The capacity of the country's only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), is being gradually expanded.

TIA currently handles 20,000 passengers daily. It will handle 90,000 passengers daily once it starts operating in full capacity in every manner.

The airport is becoming congested with the growing bumber of air passengers in recent years. The number of passengers, including domestic and international, using the airport has reached 7.2 million annually.

Around 500 airplanes towards domestic and international routes operate on a daily basis. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said the number of passengers using TIA increased two folds in 2018 compared to the number of passengers in 2009. This indicates that the number of passengers is going to increase in the coming days.

CAAN director general Rajan Pokharel said the number of passengers has been steadily going up over the last 10 years and the airport has become congested. It is estimated the number of passengers will be 9 million per annum by 2021.

According to him, an alternative international airport is urgently needed considering the increasing number of air passengers. He said CAAN was also working vigorously for the smooth management of additional airlines as well as the increasing number of passengers.

Works are underway for increasing the capacity of the airport and improving the management of air flights. TIA general manager Devendra KC said the capacity of the airport is being gradually expanded. He said works related to renovation of the runway and taxiway have been completed and the process for calling for bid for the construction of parallel taxiway has been forwarded now.

Similarly, an additional departure hall is being constructed at the international terminal building. Two additional conveyor belts are being installed towards the arrival area. There are only four conveyor belts at present. General manager KC said works on increasing the capacity of the airport are being carried out parallel with the beautification works as per the concept of 'boutique airport'. He said the flight management has become much easier now following the repair, maintenance and capacity expansion of the airport in the recent days.

The airport management is constantly working on runway improvement as well as on expansion of aircraft parking area and passenger halls. Renovation of the runway and taxiway has been completed and following this the international airport is now operational for 21 hours daily. This is the first time in the aviation history of the country that the international airport's runway and taxiway have been renovated.

As per the CAAN latest data, 4 million 342 thousand 486 international passengers arrived at TIA in 2018. A total 3 million 887 thousand 845 passengers had arrived in 2017. Towrads the domestic sector, 2 million 847 thousand 752 passengers used TIA in 2018 while 2 million 451 thousand 390 passengers travelled from it in 2017.

Similarly, 2 million 737 thousand 172 passengers have commuted from TIA until October 2019. It is estimated that around 3.3 million air passengers will commute this year. The remote parking way being constructed towards the south of the airport will come into operation within the coming two months. Works on the remote parking way would be completed by the end of February. Two wide-body and two narrow-body aircraft can be parked in it.

CAAN is constructing two parking ways at the airport at a cost of Rs 1.6 billion from the Airport Development Fund. It believes that operation of the remote parking way would help ease the aircraft traffic. The remote parking way towards the north-east of the airport has already been operational since last May. This parking way can accommodate two wide-body and three narrow-body aircraft. The international terminal has the parking capacity for only nine aircraft.

The number of international parking way at TIA has reached 11 with the coming into operation of the one towards the north-east of the airport. It is said the process has begun for constructing an aircraft parking area towards the north of the airport also. Twenty-two small aircraft used for domestic sector can be parked in this parking lot once it is completed. A call for bid has been made for the construction of the parking area which is estimated to cost Rs 8 billion. Its construction would be completed in three years.

Although the present parking capacity towards the domestic sector is 17 aircraft, as many as 35 are being parked. Twenty-eight airlines including three Nepali airlines companies are operating flights towards the international sector and 20 airlines companies including 10 helicopter services are operating flights towards the domestic sector from the TIA at present.

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