Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport Functioning Beyond Capacity

News in Asia
Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport Functioning Beyond Capacity

While Nepal's tourism sector is preparing to the largest ever promotion campaign 'Visit Nepal 2020', air traffic congestion at the nation's main air haven, the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), poses challenges. 

The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu is currently the sole international airport in Nepal. Inaugurated by King Mahendra in 1955, the airport does not have the instrument landing system. There are 11 parking bays out of which only three can accommodate wide-body aircraft with the rest fit for narrow-body planes.

If between 2011 and 2015 the passengers arrivals were relatively stable at 4 million a year, since 2016 tourist footfalls continue growing. Last year the airport handled over 7 million passengers working at the edge of its capacity, to say the least. The number of flights is constantly increasing and during the peak tourist seasons it is not uncommon for arriving planes to remain stuck at the taxiway waiting for space at the parking bays.

Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents admitted having received numerous complaints from passengers of long-haul flights being put on hold and since tourism also depends on word-of-mouth publicity, they fear it will affect the tourism sector. 

To solve the problem, the government has proposed to build a new Nijgadh International Airport in Kolhavi and is upgrading the existing domestic Guatam Buddha Airport serving Siddharthanagar. The brand-new Pokhara International Airport is under construction at the moment but it will not be completed before 2021.

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