Airport still a problem for Nepal airfreight

Nepal airfreight is on the move again, but progressing slowly. While the general flow of humanitarian cargo into Kathmandu’s International Airport has been improving, charterers on the ground report restrictions on landing slots and aircraft loading weights.

Imposed by Nepal’s civil aviation authorities, these restrictions are limiting the efficiency of aid operations and delaying the arrival of supplies into the country. In recent days, damage to the runway has seen landing and take-off weights of freighters limited to 196 tonnes in order to reduce runway damage.

This development is forcing increased deployment of smaller freighters, such as Ilyushin 76s and C130s, which carry just a third of the weight of larger aircraft. This is currently bumping up the charter cost of Nepal airfreight and reducing the cost-effectiveness of aid operations, thanks to the additional aircraft required to transport the same amount of supplies.

As one charter company commented, “Getting cargo trucked here is very difficult, and once the monsoon season starts, it will get even worse. So, it’s absolutely vital to get supplies in by air.”