Kathmandu airport overwhelmed with relief flights

With Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport, Nepal’s sole international airport, unable to handle a deluge of relief flights, ferrying vital aid material to the quake-hit nation has become a tough task.

Landing at the airport is becoming a major impediment as the airport also lacks enough space for parking aircraft and choppers of various countries.

Moreover, apart from its domestic and international operations, the airport also witnesses rescue flights where helicopter sorties take off and land.

“There is not enough parking space for aircraft at the airport, which is leading to planes queueing up on the runway for space,” said Major Gen Satish Bikram Shah of the Nepal Army.

After the earthquake, several countries flew in their aircraft and choppers for rescue and relief operations, but that led to clogging of the airport.

At times, relief material was unloaded on the runway itself to avoid delay of necessary items.

“We have been waiting for our relief material for the past two days. Yesterday, we could not get our relief material as the aircraft was not allowed to land because of the queue.

“Today, it could not land as the airport could not handle the load of the aircraft carrying 3,000 metric tonnes of relief material. We have now told our office in Dubai to send material in small aircraft,” said Deepesh Das Shreshta, assistant external relations officer, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.