Last updated: 06:20 PM ET, Thu May 07 2015

Nepal Airport Dealing With Constant Airplane Traffic Following Earthquake

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | May 01, 2015

Nepal Airport Dealing With Constant Airplane Traffic Following Earthquake

Photo via Wikipedia

It is no surprise that aid workers and government assistance has flooded into Nepal following the devastating earthquake on April 25, but the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, has become overwhelmed with the surge of aircraft arriving and departing.

Instead of dealing with the normal 40 flights a day, the airport is dealing with almost twice as many following the natural disaster. Not only are planes arriving in the nation offering aid, but there are also hordes of travelers trying to catch a flight out of the area as well.

According to Nirmal Ghosh of The Straits Times, airport officials admit it has been chaos at the airport since the tragedy, but the situation continues to improve each day. The problem is that the one-terminal facility was not built to withstand the traffic it is currently experiencing.

Tribhuvan International Airport’s deputy director, Mr Tek Nath Sitaula, told The Straits Times about trying to orchestrate the influx of planes and keep everything organized:

“Many commercial airlines canceled their flights on the day of the earthquake, and they are now trying to add more flights to evacuate the passengers. It's very difficult for the airport to accommodate everyone.”

Not only are international aid planes and commercial airlines not giving enough advance warning in order to plan for the surge, but there are also limitations on where planes can park once they are landed. The airport has only nine parking bays, and just three are big enough for wide-bodied aircrafts.

Another major problem is that the operations room at the airport has just two computers, one of which is constantly being used by the operations manager. The frenzy in the control tower only adds to the chaos on the ground.

There are two other airports in Nepal at Pokhara and Lumbini, but it will be two years before they are completed.

As for the passengers waiting to leave the country, widespread cancellations following the earthquake forced many people to wait several days for a flight. With little room inside the terminal, passengers were forced to sit on the baggage trolleys or plastic sheets while they waited.

CMA chairman Rakesh Wahi shared an image from Saturday of the stranded passengers on Twitter:

There has been anger from the passengers stranded at the airport, but with officials dealing with almost twice as many planes arriving and leaving each day, the facility has ran as smooth as possible considering the conditions.

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