Nepal’s only International Airport faces fuel shortage

27th Sep, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Sep 27: As a result of irregular supply from India Nepal’s only international airport, The Tribhuwan International Airport is facing shortage of the aviation fuel prompting ban on International airlines operating flights to Kathmandu from refueling.

The NOC’s ATF depot at TIA that has a storage capacity of 7,801 kilolitres is left with a stock of 1,742 kilolitres. With the daily demand of ATF hovering at around 650 kilolitres, the stock won’t last even three days.

Supply of ATF has been affected since the Indian government enforced goods and services tax, which requires data entry of each shipment at the customs point and the fuel tankers are stranded at border points for  six to seven hours due to delay in entry after automation at Indian customs points.

NOC’s stock started plummeting as supply from India was continuously affected after recent floods damaged trade routes in India and Nepal. Local level elections in Birgunj also hit the supply, Prem Prasad Acharya, managing director of NOC, told.

“We have yet to decide whether to stop the refuelling facility for international carriers, but NOC’s stock at TIA is plummeting and the remaining stock can cater to the demand of domestic airlines for only a month,” he said. Domestic airlines consume about 60 kl of ATF daily.

According to Acharya, NOC has spoken to the Indian Oil Corporation — sole supplier of NOC — and the Embassy of India in Kathmandu through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase supply to Nepal by providing necessary facilitation to ATF tankers at the customs points of India. NOC has also been talking to TIA management regarding shortage of aviation fuel.

“If supply does not smoothen tomorrow, we’ll not be able to provide refuelling facility to international carriers,” said Acharya, adding, “We may request TIA to issue ‘Notice to Airmen’ (NOTAM) if the supply situation from India does not improve.”

NOC had barred refuelling facility for international carriers citing fuel crisis from September-end 2015 to mid-February 2016, as the supply from India was disrupted during
that period.

Long distance international airlines had managed technical landing permit at the nearest airports, namely Lucknow, Dhaka and New Delhi as per their convenience for refuelling and continued their operation to Kathmandu.

There are 34 international flag carriers operating up to 106 flights daily to Kathmandu, according to TIA authorities.