“Hello, this is your captain speaking. Due to air traffic movement at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), we will be spending an extra 30 minutes in the air. We will keep you informed. Enjoy the flight.”
This has become a common announcement on aircraft flying into Kathmandu, and passengers never know when they will be able to land.
This is because there are queues of aircraft circling the skies waiting to land. If it’s only air traffic, 30 minutes on hold is normal, but if the weather suddenly deteriorates, another 30 minutes are added, said an air traffic controller.
Arpan Dangi Nepali, a traveller expressed his frustration on his Facebook page on January 23, “Flight delayed, 3 hr in TIA, frustration, anger…”
Another traveller Nishchal Dhakal? tweeted to @AirBuddha on March 24: “I’m stuck at TIA for one hr delay in my flight. How do I kill some time in this crowded place?” The social media is often filled with posts by frustrated travellers.
Nepal’s sole international airport has been strained to capacity due to infrastructure bottlenecks and the airport authority’s incapability to manage flights. Experts say that Nepal’s sole international airport has turned into a ‘roll and hold’ facility.