CAAN planning to stop giving domestic flight permissions for two years

5th Dec, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Dec 05: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulating body for air travels, is planning to stop giving domestic flight permissions to new airplanes and airlines for two years. This decision to refuse permissions to new airplanes was made because the “parking way” for new airplanes will be unable to hold any new additions.

The decision was made necessary as the total number of airplanes possessed by domestic airlines has reached 46, which is the total airplane parking capacity of the entire country. As the Tribhuvan International Airport is quite small, and the parking way of airports outside Kathmandu haven’t been constructed, CAAN has been forced to stop the addition of new airplanes and airlines. CAAN had formed a three-member technical committee six months earlier in conjunction with Prem Nath Thakur. The committee had concluded that the airports of Nepal only had the capacity to park 46 airplanes, and it was not possible to add more airplanes until the capacity had been increased, in its report submitted to CAAN.

Deputy Director of CAAN, Rajan Pokharel, said, “Although the report has been submitted to us, the discussion is ongoing and no decision has been made yet.” According to him, many suggestions and discussions have been conducted in order to solve the issue of the increasing number of airplanes and airlines. He also informed that preparations are being made to shift the helipad at TIA to another location and add a parking way in its place. CAAN is also making preparations to build parking ways in Biratnagar, Janakpur, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Simara, and other airports.

The report is currently being studied by the high tier of the Civil Aviation Authority. “Adding more airplanes will only make it difficult to airlines and passengers,” said a high officer of the Authority. Airplanes are currently being forced to hold on air from 15 minutes to an hour due to lack of parking space in the airport. Furthermore, it also presents an issue to air safety, concluded the committee.

CAAN has informed that it is starting processes to add parking way to important airports of the country within this year and plans to improve capacity to hold at least 100 airplanes by the end of two years. Since adding new parking ways will take two years, CAAN has laid a restriction to stop any airlines company from adding new planes. The crowding at TIA has even made it difficult for the airport office to handle its passengers.

The move by CAAN has come during a time when there was a rush to bring big airplanes to Nepal. The move will hamper the growth of airline companies for at least two years. Airline companies currently have 46 “fixed wing” airplanes in different airports around the country. Since the airplane parking capacity of the entire country is at 46 planes, there can be no new additions until the capacity is improved, according to the report.

Tribhuvan International Airport has 17 parking ways for domestic flights, but has been forcefully accommodating 35 airplanes. According to CAAN, some airlines have been parking at Tribhuvan Airport even though they are permitted to only park in airports outside Kathmandu.

According to CAAN, the budget has been formulated this year to allow a new helipad to be constructed at TIA within the year. The CAAN budget, which was passed only a few days ago, has already allocated a part of it for parking way construction, and the Aviation Authority is making preparations to start constructing parking ways as soon as possible. The country currently has 56 domestic airports, in which 31 are currently in operation while 23 have black-topped runways. Tribhuvan Airport currently sees 400 domestic takeoffs and landings, and 80 international takeoffs and landings.