Tribhuvan International Airport
|Tribhuvan International Airport
त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल
|Operator||Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)|
|Elevation AMSL||4,390 ft / 1,338 m|
|Statistics (2015 )|
Tribhuvan International Airport (Nepali: त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल, IATA: KTM, ICAO: VNKT) is an international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. The airport is about six kilometres from the city centre, in the Kathmandu valley. It is the sole international airport in Nepal, though Nijgadh International Airport has been proposed as a second. The airport has served as an airfield since 1949, and was inaugurated in 1955 by King Mahendra. It received its current name in 1964. Originally a grass runway, it was re-laid in concrete in 1957 and has been extended several times. The first jet aircraft landed at Tribhuvan in 1967 and regular jet operations commenced in 1972.
The airport has one domestic and one international terminal. In 2015, the airport handled 3.21 million passengers, down 8.37% from 2014. At present, about 30 international airlines connect Nepal to destinations in Asia and the Middle East, and the airport serves as a hub for several Nepalese airlines. In 2001, Royal Nepal Airlines discontinued their flights to Frankfurt and London, which severed Nepal's direct air links with Europe. Recently, Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Kathmandu, re-establishing Nepal's connection with continental Europe. The Nepalese government has also recently announced that agreements have been made with Air New Zealand, Vietnam Airlines, and El Al to schedule direct flights to Kathmandu from Auckland, Hanoi, and Tel Aviv respectively (not limited to codeshare flights).
The airport was originally named Gauchaur Airport, after the area of Kathmandu where it was situated. The formal beginning of aviation in Nepal occurred in 1949, with the landing of a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft, carrying the Indian ambassador. The first charter flight took place between Gauchaur and Calcutta, in a Himalayan Aviation Dakota on 20 February 1950.
In 1955 the airport was inaugurated by King Mahendra and renamed Tribhuvan Airport in memory of the king's father. The airport was again renamed Tribhuvan International Airport in 1964. The original grass runway was re-laid in concrete in 1957 and extended from 3,750 feet (1,140 m), to 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in 1967. The runway was again extended from 6,600 feet (2,000 m) to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in 1975.
In May 2007, Austrian Airlines discontinued their flight to Vienna, which severed Nepal's direct air links with Europe. Since September 2013, Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Kathmandu, re-establishing Nepal's connection with continental Europe.
The airport has a single 10,007 feet (3,050 m) concrete runway orientated 02/20. There is no instrument landing system available. The airport has two public terminals—one for international and one for domestic traffic. It also has a terminal for VIP guests. There are some tea shops outside the airport. There are few ATMs for drawing money.
Radisson Hotel Kathmandu operates an executive lounge for first and business class passengers for some airlines and Thai Airways International operates a business lounge for its business-class passengers, as well as Star Alliance Gold card holders.
Airlines and destinations
Sajha Yatayat buses connect the airport to city centre, with the last around 18:00. Meter and pre paid taxis are available at both terminals at all hours.
Incidents and accidents
- 10 May 1972 – A Thai Airways Douglas DC-8 overran the runway on landing, and of 100 passengers and 10 crew on board, there was one fatality.
- 31 July 1992 – An Airbus A310-304, operating as Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed into a mountain while approaching Kathmandu, killing all 113 people on board.
- 28 September 1992 – An Airbus A300 B4-203 operating as PIA Flight 268 crashed, killing all 167 on board.
- 17 January 1995 – Royal Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N-ABI), flight RA133 from Kathmandu to Rumjatar, had problems getting airborne at Tribhuvan International Airport. The aircraft struck the airfield perimeter fence and plunged into fields. Of three crew and 21 passengers on board, one crew member and one passenger were killed.
- 7 July 1999 – A Boeing 727-200F of Lufthansa Cargo Airlines, five minutes after takeoff, crashed in the Champadevi hills at the 7550 feet level, when it should have been at an altitude of 9500 feet. All five crew members on board were killed.
- 5 September 1999 – Necon Air Flight 128 from Pokhara to Kathmandu, a BAe 748-501 Super 2B (9N-AEG), crashed while approaching Tribhuvan International Airport. The aircraft collided with a communication tower of Nepal Telecommunication Corporation and crashed in a wooded area 25 km west of Kathmandu. All 10 passengers and 5 crew were killed.
- 26 December 1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 was hijacked en route from Kathmandu to Delhi. The aircraft ended up in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Indian Airlines suspended all flights to and from Nepal for some time, fearing a lack of security at check-in.
- 24 December 2008 – A Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N ABM) ran off the runway during takeoff
- 24 August 2010 – Agni Air Flight 101, a Dornier Do 228 aircraft (9N-AHE), crashed into hills outside Kathmandu in heavy rain. All on board (3 crew, 11 passengers) were killed. The plane, crashed near Shikharpur village, 80 km (50 mi) south of Kathmandu. The aircraft had left Tribhuvan International Airport, bound for Tenzing-Hillary Airport.
- 15 December 2010 – A Tara Air De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 en route to Tribhuvan International Airport from Lamidanda Airport, lost signal 162 km (101 mi) east of Kathmandu and crashed. All 19 passengers and three crew members on board were killed. The passengers were Bhutanese citizens and the three crew members were Nepali citizens.
- 25 September 2011 – Buddha Air Flight 103, a Beechcraft 1900D, struck terrain while on approach to Tribhuvan International Airport. There were 16 passengers and three crew members on board. Initial reports stated there was one survivor, who died en route to hospital. At the time of the crash, the weather was overcast with very low clouds and flights were operating under visual flight rules. The aircraft was on the base leg of the approach following a sightseeing flight.
- 28 September 2012 – Sita Air Flight 601, a Dornier Do 228, crashed soon after take-off, after apparently hitting a vulture. Sixteen passengers and three crew members were killed.
- 4 March 2015 – A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300 veered off the runway after attempting to land in dense fog. The aircraft had been circling for 30 minutes and was making its second landing attempt, after a previous aborted attempt due to poor visibility. The aircraft skidded into soft grass causing the nose wheel to collapse and the airport to temporarily close to all international flights. All 227 passengers and 11 crew members evacuated the aircraft safely.
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Media related to Tribhuvan International Airport at Wikimedia Commons