Kathmandu, Oct 21: Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), country’s first international airport, is now operating at full capacity for the first time in its 73 years of the establishment.
According to the TIA office, Nepal’s busiest airport has seen a significant increase in flight operations for the past few days. Previously, the airport used to handle around 90 two-way flights daily, but the number has now increased to 110-113.
TIA general manager Pratab Babu Tiwari said the airport is providing services to 16,000- 17,000 passengers each day since the day of Ghatasthapana, the first day of the Dashain that commenced on October 15. On October 16, the airport witnessed a record-breaking 113 international flights, the highest number of daily operations in its history. The following day, this number remained high at 110 flights.
At present, TIA reports the highest operations of the flights in its history in this festive season coupled with the commencement of a touristic season, it is said.
Towards the domestic service, daily 370 two-way flights are being operated to serve around 14,000 passengers.
As General Manager Tiwari said, the airport is presently handling around 500 flights towards domestic and international services each day. Lately, there is a significant rise in the number of daily flights. Now the numbers of flights and passengers are ever highest since the airport’s history.”
On October 18, it served above 15,000 domestic passengers who traveled domestically. The flights of the national flag-carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation are packed and is facing high demand for flights to various destinations. However, it is not in the position of meeting the flights demand due to a limited number of aircrafts. NAC Spokesperson Ramesh Poudel said, the NAC currently provides services to various 16 destinations within the country through 22 flights assisted by its two twin-otters. Flights to remote areas are very limited.
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) information officer, Gyanendra Bhul, said the TIA has the capacity of managing 1,500 international passengers and 500 domestic passengers per hour, with an annual capacity of 9.2 million passengers. In 2018, it served 7.2 million passengers. After Covid-pandemic, there has been a gradual increase in the number of flights and passengers at TIA.
TIA, serving as the first international airport in the country, witnessed the first-ever arrival flight by the Beechcraft Bonanza, an American general aviation aircraft. The process of converting the then Gauchar Ground into an airstrip had begun in 1949. A Dakota aircraft had on February 20, 1950 departed from TIA to Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, marking the launch of the airport’s take-off flight. The flight was launched by the Himalayan Aviation.
The airport was officially inaugurated in 1955 by the then king Mahendra and named the Tribhuvan International Airport in 1964.
The airport in 1967 recorded the first arrival of a jet flight, by a Boeing 707 from the Lufthansa Airlines. It started commercial flight operations in 1972.RSS