Nepal earthquake: Operations at Kathmandu airport hit by congestion

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2015 09:47 IST

Nepal's only international airport in Kathmandu, which has witnessed chaotic scenes since the 7.9-magnitude quake, has been hit by congestion that resulted in several flights being diverted to nearby airports in India on Tuesday morning.

"We are facing problems in managing flights as many aircraft, including those from the Indian Air Force and other countries as well as chartered flights, have been landing and taking off," a duty officer at Tribhuvan International Airport told Hindustan Times.

The officer did not give exact details of the flights diverted or the rescue and chartered aircraft operating from the airport.

The massive earthquake has killed more than 4,300 people, displaced tens of thousands and devastated infrastructure across the country.

Operations at the airport were briefly halted after a major aftershock on Sunday. Dozens of flights carrying aid from countries such as India, China, Bhutan and Pakistan have landed at the airport.

Commercial flights resumed from the airport on Monday morning, adding to the chaos.

Thousands of Indians and citizens of other countries are trying to fly out of Nepal. Many of them have been camping at the airport. India has also drawn up plans to evacuate its stranded nationals by bus once roads to the borders with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are opened up.

Tourists wait outside Kathmandu airport following an earthquake in Kathmandu. (AFP Photo)

On Monday, four heavy lift aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) – including two C-17 Globemasters carrying much-needed communications equipment and water and an Il-76 carrying teams from the National Disaster Response Force – returned to Delhi due to the congestion at the airport in Kathmandu.

The IAF had rescheduled its relief flights to "low density time" to avoid congestion at the airport, defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.

The IAF had also shifted its Mi-17 helicopters from the airport to a nearby site to reduce congestion.

On Tuesday, a Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Kathmandu was delayed by seven hours because of the congestion. Several other flights too were affected.

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