Dhangadhi Airport Upgrading Work Gathers Momentum

Local News

Dhangadhi, February. 2: Work to upgrade the Dhangadhi Airport, the only airport of Sudurpaschim Province, has moved forward.

Preliminary work has been carried out to upgrade the airport to a regional-level airport. Chief of the Dhangadhi Civil Aviation Authority Ram Krishna Bhatta informed that a survey was being done to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the upgradation.

The responsibility of preparing the DPR has been given to Realpath Consultancy, whose technicians are doing the survey work. "As per the agreement, the DPR work will be completed within a month," said Bhatta.

The team is studying the geography, topography, trees, plants and structures to be built in the area where the airport will be expanded, he informed. In December last year, the Civil Aviation Authority had allocated Rs. 1 billion at the initiative of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Prem Ale to make the airport a regional airport. The preliminary work of upgrading has gathered pace after budget allocation.

Once the DPR becomes ready, the process of land acquisition required for the expansion of the airport will move forward, Bhatta said. The CAA has stated that an additional 258.25 bighas of land are required to build a regional airport. Currently, the airport spreads across 83 bighas with an 1,800-metre-long runway. CAA plans to expand it to 2550 metres. Similarly, the width of the runway will also be increased to 45 meters.

After the airport is made a regional airport, then it will be easy for us to upgrade it to international airport afterwards, Bhatta said. At present, airplanes with a capacity of 70 seats are landing at the airport, but once upgraded, a 200-seat capacity aircraft could land and take off, the authority said.

Despite low visibility, equipment connected to the airport for smooth landing has not been able to come into operation.

Airplanes could not land at the airport due to fog or low visibility because the equipment is in working order.

Chief Bhatta said the equipment could not come into operation because it had never been tested. “Foreign aircrafts have to come for this test.” The equipment was installed by a Japanese and Korean company with the help of JICA. Started in 2019, work on VOR / DME connection completed only a month ago, Bhatta informed.

According to Bhatta, if the equipment is brought into operation, the aircraft will be able to land at the airport easily even with a visibility of 1.6 km. Many flights are being cancelled due to winter fog as the equipment remains non-functional. Some flights were cancelled at the airport on Sunday alone due to the fog throughout the day. Five kilometres of visibility is required for convenience, but airplanes have been landing at the airport despite the visibility of two kilometres, Bhatta informed.

 

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