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With frequent cracks in Airport CAAN requests Airlines to limit weight


KATHMANDU: At a time when the country is mulling to bring more tourists in the country and the Nepal Tourism Board spending large chunk of money for promoting tourism potentials of the country, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal ( CAAN ) has requested all international airlines flying wide-body aircraft to Kathmandu airport to restrict their take-off and landing weight to 196 tones until September 30.

The decision was taken taking into account the festival season and the peak tourist season as the CIAA mulls to complete the maintenance work by that time.

The latest move is expected to affect flights of Thai Airways and Korean Air that have take-off weight of around 260 tones, including the weight of aircraft, passengers, luggage and fuel.

The aviation regulator body made such a request to the Airlines Operating Committee Nepal (AOCN) in a meeting held here on Friday. Airlines officials said further updates would be given to AOCN after the completion of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) runway evaluation study being conducted by a Spanish company.

An aircraft has two weight categories—dry operating weight and pay load. Dry operating weight cannot be reduced, but pay load, which has three components—passengers, fuel and cargo—can be brought down.

“Considering the gravity of the situation on the TIA runway, CAAN has responded positively to airlines’ request to not bar wide-body aircraft from landing at the TIA,” said Bharat Kumar Shrestha, the AOCN chairman.

Amid safety concerns after repeated occurrence of cracks on the 46-year-old runway, CAAN had last Monday issued a notice to airlines to find alternatives to their wide-body aircraft (seat capacity above 250) flying into the country’s sole international airport that has a single approach system.

CAAN has also requested Thai Airways and Korean Air to change their flight schedule and conduct flights in mornings or evenings when temperatures are lower than in the afternoon. “The request was made as both the airlines have back to back flights on afternoons of Mondays and Fridays which create more pressure on the runway,” President of Airlines Operating Committee Bharat Shrestha informed media.

Some airlines officials said CAAN ’s decision was harsh as their major business season is almost at hand. However, they said that considering the runway problem and its consequences, they were ready to compromise and restrict their load to some extent.

As cracks appeared again on the TIA runway on Friday, the airport was closed for 30 minutes to carry out repair works. The airport authority, however, said it did not affect flights too much. A Thai Airways aircraft landing was delayed for 35 minutes.

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point