Kathmandu Airport to be closed for seven hours daily for repairs from SundayFrom January, the airport plans to open 24/7 for the first time since its operation in 1949.
Nepal’s sole international airport Tribhuvan International Airport will again be closed for 7 hours daily for four months from Sunday to restore the taxiway. The move comes after the runway was recently rehabilitated.
From January, the airport plans to open 24/7 for the first time since its operation in 1949, the airport authority said.
Raj Kumar Chettri, general manager of the airport, said that the airport will reduce operations until December 31—from 11:30 pm to 6:30 am the next day.
“We have already informed the international airlines to reschedule their flights,” he said. However, for Nepal Airlines, the airport will be opened exclusively for half an hour for its flight to Osaka, Japan, bypassing the time-sensitive “notice to airmen” period during which the crucial second-phase of taxiway construction will be ongoing.
Tribhuvan International Airport had completed renovation works on the 3,050-metre-long runway on June 30 and is currently in operation for 21 hours daily. The runway has been covered with a new layer of asphalt.
The 1,950-metre-long parallel taxiway has been experiencing problems in its pavement, primarily rutting.
“After the renovation of the taxiway is completed, we have planned to open the airport for 24 hours,” he said.
The renovation of the runway started during the middle of the country’s spring tourist season. The renovation of the taxiway has been planned for autumn, also a peak tourist season in the country.
The runway and taxiway of Tribhuvan International Airport are being renovated in a Rs3.78-billion project. China’s state-owned enterprise China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation has received the rehabilitation contract.
Congestion has been a longstanding issue at Tribhuvan International Airport which handled 7.19 million passengers last year. There were a total of 129,511 flights over Nepali skies, 74 percent of them domestic flights.
Airport authorities moved to improve the runway due to extreme pressure following frequent cracks in the pavement that raised safety concerns. For the last seven years, aircraft weighing more than 196 tonnes have been barred from the airport to prevent further damage to the runway. The old runway has been affecting the smooth operation of aircraft due to repeated occurrences of cracks in the pavement.
Historically, the 1,143 metres long runway was extended to 2,011 metres in 1967 and again extended in 1975 to 3,050 metres. The pavement strengthening of the runway and taxiway was last conducted in 1995.
The airport said that poor pavement condition was a result of age, frequency and weight of aircraft. The air traffic at the airport has increased considerably since 2004.