KATHMANDU: The runway of the country’s sole international airport Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has been expected to come into full fledged operation from July 1 as the rehabilitation work of the runway is all set to be complete, the airport officials said.
Currently, the airport is closed for 10 hours every day from 10:00 pm to 8:00am for runway rehabilitation work.
Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA, said the rehabilitation work will be finished within 10 days.
After completing the runway rehabilitation, TIA will begin the construction of taxiway from September 1.
Around 400 flights, including 100 international flights, are being operated from TIA every day. With this upgradation, TIA management expects the air congestion problem to ease and the airport to be a bit better managed.
Airport authorities moved to improve the runway due to extreme pressure following frequent cracks in the pavement that have raised safety concerns.
A study conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal in 2014 had concluded that the runway at TIA was not strong enough to handle wide-body jets due to its ageing asphalt foundation, and distress is caused to the upper surface instantly when heavy planes land on it. Repeated occurrences of cracks on the runway have been affecting smooth operation of aircraft since 2011.
When compared to the core part of the runway between 2006 and 2013, damage to the intermediate layers was caused by the operation of large jets like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, according to Caan.
In 2013, there were 1,000 operations of A330-300 aircraft, 955 of Boeing 777 and 452 of A330-200, and the numbers are expected to double in the next 20 years.
Cracks first appeared on the runway in June 2011, and they had become a recurrent problem. Cracks were reported occasionally in 2012. However, the problem worsened in 2013, forcing Caan to take a harsh decision to bar aircraft weighing more than 196 tonnes from landing at TIA for a month.