KATHMANDU, Sept 17: More than a thousand passengers were stranded at Kathmandu airport on Monday after dozens of flights were cancelled due the poor visibility caused by adverse weather.
All flights to Bharatpur, Tumlingtar, Lamidanda and Phaplu were cancelled and dozens of other flights in other destinations including Pokhara and Biratnagar was delayed as the weather started deteriorating from the morning till late afternoon.
All the domestic airlines operators including Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Guna Airlines and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) were forced to cancel the flights.
According to Utsav Kharel, manager at International Terminal Building of Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), a total of 50 flights were cancelled on Wednesday. In an average, more than 100 flights operate from Kathmandu airport. However, no flights were disrupted in the international sector.
The cancellation of flights might force some of the tourist to cancel their trip as they might have to wait for a week for another schedule flight.
In Kathmandu-Lukla sector only one aircraft was able to operate flight in late afternoon after the visibility improved. Likewise, only few flights operated in Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu sector in the evening following improvement in the weather.
All the flights in Kathmandu-Simra sector were also cancelled except one flight of Buddha Air in the evening.
Although a mountain flight took off from the airport it was quickly diverted after there was no sign of improvement in weather.
Kharel said that the problem in operation was due only in case of VFR (Visual Flight Rules) airport. “IFR (Instrumental Flight Rules) flights are less likely to be affected as the pilot can conduct the operation despite the poor visibility whereas for VFR, clear visibility is a preliminary requirement,” said he.
Vinaya Shaka, senior sales and marketing manager of Yeti Airlines said that the cancellation of the flights particularly in rural areas might force passenger to wait up to a week. “The time of flights can not be predicted easily as it depends on availability of seats and the schedule of flights,” he added.