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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2424

Er. Dipendra Kandel Expresses concern on the Runway of Tribhuvan International Airport

Kathmandu, 03 October, (Asiantribune.com):

The 62 years old Runway of Tribhuvan International Airport is a major point of a concern on the work of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), pointed out Public Sector Innovator Er. Dipendra Kandel.

Tribhuvan International Airport t has a single 10,007 feet (3,050 m) concrete runway orientated 02/20. The airport has one 10,000ft-long and 150 ft. wide concrete runway. Originally a grass runway, it was re-laid in concrete in 1957 The runway was extended from 6,600ft to 10,000ft in 1975 with a lifespan of 14 years.

On Monday, speaking with media personnel about his work for the empowerment of Civil Aviation Of Nepal, Mr. Kandel expressed that the ICAO played an impractical role during the removal of Significant Safety Concern (SSC) tag imposed on Nepal's aviation industry since July 2013.

He said, “The mission led by ICAO operations expert had given Nepal a score of 66% for Effective Implementation (EI) of safety standards, which is above the benchmark of the global standard of 60%”. “Whereas the previous audit report of 2013 pointed that Nepal’s score was no higher than 55.01%”, he added.

According to sources, Significant Safety Concern (SSC) is referred under its jurisdiction with respect to the ability of the audited state to properly oversee its airlines (air operators); airports; aircraft; and/or air navigation services provider. Mr. Kandel questioned to ICAO, “How is it possible to get 66% on EI standards when the TIA Runway is 62 years old?”

He added, “There are too many parameters of ICAO, Primary Aviation Legislation and association civil aviation regulations, Civil Aviation Organizational Structure, Personnel Licensing Activities, Aircraft Operations, Airworthiness of civil aircraft, Aerodromes, Air Navigation Services, Accident and Serious Incident Investigations etc. for example, but SSC concerns more than just the airport, aircraft and navigation service provider. Thus, we have to seriously question the ICAO and its audit report and standards for giving 66% rating to the TIA while airport and navigation service provider is the main cause of the recent air mishaps which occurred just before TIA was even awarded this percentage."

Kandel questioned, “If ICAO claims that the Nepalese Airport is good and functional, as denoted from the 66% rating, even though it operates on a 62 years old runway, then we have to question further why it has standardized the life of an International Runway to be 15-20 years maximum?” He also added that it would have been possible for Turkish Airlines Flight TK 726 pilot to land through the dense fog, rather than skid off the runway as it did-ceasing flights to and from Nepal for multiple days if Runway Centerline Lighting System were available.

He stated, “ICAO manual has clearly shown that we are supposed to upgrade with the Centerline Lighting System and again we need to question, how did the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) get this rating from ICAO for an airport with an expired runway and no upgrades? We also need to address the fact that TIA received points for the Navigation Services Providers even though we have recently had some serious accidents here primarily due to the miscommunications with the control team at TIA such as US-Bangla and Altitude Helicopter which had (49+6) 55 casualties.”

At last, Kandel added, “CAAN in 2014 had concluded that the runway at TIA was not strong enough to handle wide-body jets due to its aging asphalt foundation, and distress it caused to the upper surface instantly when heavy planes land on it. Since then we not only have the same old and expired runway but also the wide-body planes are added up, not issuing NOTAM for closing the airport for more than 15 minutes, and covering the runway problem by giving the falsified weather information. Are these questions unanswerable to ICAO?” he asked the question to reporters in surprise.

- Asian Tribune –

ICAO Vs Er. Dipendra Kandel
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