KATHMANDU, MAY 27
While the country is in lockdown, the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is being renovated to resume flight operations soon.
Taking advantage of the lockdown, TIA management has improved the facilities of both domestic and international terminals to help maintain social distancing and hygiene at the airport, said Dev Chandra Lal Karna, spokesperson for TIA.
“The 3,000-metre runway has been extended to 3,300 metres.
Likewise, construction of parking bay and construction of new departure boarding gates have been completed so far,” he said, adding, “Immigration area has also been renovated.”
The number of parking bays has been increased to 13 from nine.
Similarly, construction of six new departure boarding gates has also been completed, while the old departure lounge area has been demolished. The demolished area will be used for the expansion of the existing international apron area of the airport.
“After claiming their baggage at the international terminal, passengers will be able to walk directly to the parking area through a new covered walkway. Arrival walkway and parking areas will have restaurants and other facilities,” he said. “After a few months, a new entry for the arriving passengers will be introduced with health desk facilities.”
Meanwhile, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, the TIA management is putting in place safety measures to operate flights after the lockdown. Almost 90 per cent work of social distancing marking at both domestic and international terminals has been completed so far, Karna added.
Based on the criteria set by the World Health Organisation, TIA is implementing safety and hygiene measures at the airport. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has also prepared a new guideline for flight operation after the lockdown.
As per the new guideline, health safety measures will be implemented for all activities, including boarding, managing passengers and security checking processes. Along with maintaining social distancing while boarding passengers and seating them in the aircraft, many more changes will be implemented as per the new criteria.
Currently the government has suspended all international and domestic flights till May 31. However, with permission from CAAN, rescue flights, freight flights and flights related to transport of medical and other essential supplies are being conducted. Domestic helicopter movement has also been eased by the government for emergency and cargo flights.