Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu has undergone a dramatic makeover from the ‘disaster zone’ described by various inspection reports.
The country’s only international aerial gateway has been spruced up with new chairs and central air conditioning (AC), as per images posted on social media. Travellers said that everything was in order in terms of services and facilities. The lounges and toilets are clean, drinking water is available, and the AC is working.
“If a small work can make people happy, imagine what will happen if big works are done,” said a Twitterati with the handle @oops_u. Another with the Twitter handle @ibnamra said, “I am happy with the new chairs at TIA’s departure lounge and clean washroom. Let this reform process continue.”
TIA General Manager Raj Kumar Chettri said, “A number of changes have become visible at the airport within a week. We have replaced the old chairs at the departure hall, and we are planning to hire an interior designer to make it more attractive.”
The TIA has installed 200 five-seater chairs at the departure hall, and more than 40 three-seater chairs have been installed at the domestic terminal.
“Now, we have central AC system in the international terminal,” he said, adding that the domestic airport would also have AC soon.
TIA has been criticized mostly for its poor hygienic standards and insufficient toilets. The toilets at TIA are something that all travellers remember, and the country’s only international gateway has often been criticized for its stinking facilities.
The airport said that it had been renovating the toilets. “For now, we have assigned dedicated cleaners at each toilet. We have also planned to build more toilets.” He said that the approach lighting system at the airport, only 80 percent of which was functioning, had been totally repaired.
The international terminal was designed to handle 1,340 passengers per peak hour, but the present traffic is more than double the capacity, resulting in severe congestion. “We have made an action plan to reduce or manage traffic congestion,” Chettri said.
One of the major reasons behind ground congestion is lack of parking bays. The airport said that the construction of four parking bays had been expedited, and that they were expected to come into operation in six to seven months. “This facility will reduce ground traffic to some extent,” said Chettri.
Meanwhile, the airport has also started to increase the capacity of the departure hall at the domestic terminal. According to Chettri, increasing the capacity will accommodate 40 percent additional passengers at the domestic terminal.
Apart from the images of ongoing development activities at the airport posted on social media, some social media activists have criticized the prices charged by the convenience stores at the airport.
One Twitterati with the handle @RameshBhushal has written addressing Minister Rabindra Adhikari: “Minister, a cup of coffee inside the airport costs Rs300, a plate of vegetable momo costs Rs400. Why. How can you stop this extortion?”
Chettri said that they had received several complaints about the high prices, and would be asking the convenience stores about the issue. “As they pay hefty rentals to the government to use the space, they obviously charge their customers a lot of money,” he said.
“However, we are concerned because we also think that the prices are too high.”Published: 2018-04-10 09:30:08