Airport, a place where result of immense engineering i.e. aero planes operate, is not as interesting and amazing place as it looks if one has to spend hours in the waiting zone.
Most of the people who travel by air suffer from flight delays. Tribhuvan International Airport in recent years has seen more and more flight delays. It is not just the passengers who suffer, the airlines suffer too. None of the airlines want to ruin their reputation among the passengers. There are many factors responsible for the delay of flights. The airlines are not always to be blamed for flight delays because they are not always responsible for it. Weather, one way approach, tourist season and technology are the major factors responsible for flight delay at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Being the only international airport, TIA gets busy early in the morning till wee hours.
A single day sees eighteen and half hours of continuous take offs and landings. Daily operations from ground maintenance to parking the aircrafts goes on, this is what keeps the airport running.
Delay caused by the inclement weather, in particular fog, is mainly responsible for flight delays during winter season resulting due to poor visibility at TIA. Bad weather in the morning is a curse to the airport and aircrafts cannot fly as governed by Visual Flight Rule (VFR). Day time is hazy due to which TIA conducts Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight. As soon as TIA conducts IFR flight, it is not possible to conduct more than 12 flights per hour at TIA. So, its impact falls on the flights that follow affecting the daily schedule of the airport and causing flight delays.
Single runway and one way approach is a major factor for flight delay at Tribhuvan International Airport(TIA). TIA has 02 and 20 approach runway,02 is from Koteswor area which is one way approach and one way take off. Similarly Kathmandu is a bowl shaped valley and has got narrow sky. Planes have to hold and face so many difficulties. The frequency of international and domestic exceeds 470.So other planes have to hold in the narrow sly until another aircraft lands or takes off. With the increase in number of tourists, many international airlines extend their flight destination to Nepal, especially in peak seasons. But TIA has only one runway, leading to runway congestion resulting in flight delay.
Sometimes when the runway is free, taxiing of the aircraft parking area may be occupied, which means when aircraft is trying to take off another needs to wait in the air for hours until one on the ground takes off. This becomes a vicious circle where aircrafts trying to take off has to hold waiting for the turn adding to the congestion.
Also the ongoing construction at the airport has limited the taxiing area. So the international flights are given the priority to park compromising domestic aircrafts flight. Until the construction gets over for the next few years flight delays are unfortunately obvious at Tribhuvan International Airport.
Article By: Tark Raj Giri
Mechanical Engineering,4th Year
IOE, Thapathali Campus, TU