Int’l passenger traffic takes fallInternational passenger traffic through Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) dropped 6 percent to 2.66 million in the first 10 months of 2015, largely due to the April 25 earthquake and a shortage of aviation fuel resulting from India’s trade embargo against Nepal.
International passenger traffic through Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) dropped 6 percent to 2.66 million in the first 10 months of 2015, largely due to the April 25 earthquake and a shortage of aviation fuel resulting from India’s trade embargo against Nepal.
On the domestic front, passenger traffic shrank 4.25 percent to 1.14 million during the review period, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) said on Thursday.
However, cargo movement has hit a new high. International freight movement jumped a whopping 24.70 percent during the first 10 months while domestic cargo movement swelled 8.39 percent.
“Domestic and international passenger traffic fell due to the earthquake and the unfavourable environment in the country from the last week of September,” said Sanjiv Gautam, director general of Caan, speaking at its 17th anniversary function. “Cargo movement rose due to a flurry of shipments of relief materials by national and international agencies immediately after the earthquake.”
Meanwhile, Caan has forecast a drop in revenues this fiscal year due to a decline in tourist arrivals and airline flight frequency. International carriers have cut their Nepal frequency by more than 50 percent as their planes cannot refuel at TIA which has gone dry due to the embargo. Caan, which has racked up accumulated losses of Rs1.15 billion since its establishment, started showing a profit from fiscal 2011-12. The national aviation authority said that it earned Rs6.10 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year 2014-15, which is Rs537 million more than projected. Its accumulated profits for the last four years amount to Rs4 billion. “However, due to a series of misfortunes this year, we could see a slight drop in revenue,” said Gautam.
According to Caan, 26 international and two Nepali airlines fly to 23 destinations in 13 countries from Nepal. The country has signed air service agreements with 38 countries so far, the latest being New Zealand and Vietnam.
The government has planned to add 10 new airports, besides the three international airports under construction, even as Caan has been straining to manage the existing facilities. Six airports, one each in Kalikot, Okhaldhunga, Lamjung and Gulmi and two in Ilam, are presently being built, Caan said.
Moreover, it has been conducting environment impact assessments for three new airports in Udaypur, Dharan and Pyuthan besides preparing a detailed project report for another airport in Arghakhanchi. There are now 56 airports in the country, 32 of which are in operation. Speaking at Caan’s anniversary function, Tourism Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya underscored the need for increased air connectivity in remote regions. “The trend of constructing airports and leaving them as grazing fields has been growing,” he said, adding that airports should be constructed on a need basis.
Meanwhile, Caan said that blacktopping of the runway at the airports in Chaurjhari, Taplejung, Mugu and Khanidanda had been completed. Likewise, a base course for blacktopping the runway at the airports in Bhojpur, Ramechhap and Dolpa has already been laid. The runway at Phalgunanda Airport in Ilam has been completed.