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Baitadi airport: Where planes refuse to land, but TikToks are taking off!

On 12th Bhadra, Baitadi: When the air service at Baitadi’s Patan Airport shuts down, it causes problems for the locals here. For the past two and a half years, since the airport closed, they have been deprived of air services.

Summit Air, every Thursday, has been operating flights between Dhangadhi-Patan-Dhangadhi every wednesday. The last flight was on Chaitra 10, 2078. There are currently no flights from Patan Airport.

Krishnadatta Bhatta, a representative of Baitadi in the said airlines, stated that the reason for not being able to fly is due to a lack of passengers. He said, “Due to a lack of passengers, the air service here is closed. The high fare makes it difficult for passengers. The likelihood of regular flights reduces as the fare doesn’t decrease.”
The distance between Patan-Dhangadhi is 17 minutes by air. Initially, the airfare was set at Rs. 3,700. However, recently it has increased to Rs. 5,000.

Local resident Dinesh Joshi, who is affected by the cessation of airport operation, said, “The closure of the airport for a year due to operation for religious tourism development and business growth was unexpected.”

Gauri Singh Raval, the mayor of Patan, mentioned that the service recipients also face issues when the airport is not in operation. He said, “Problems arise when the airport service isn’t regular. Efforts are being made from the municipality for this.”
The terminal building construction, which cost around 11 crores, was completed along with other works by spending nearly 5 crores.

Although the runway was successfully tested three years ago, happiness among the locals was short-lived as there have been no flights from Patan Airport for two and a half years.

Jayaraj Awasthi, a local, stated that although people can get services if flights resume from the airport, they aren’t currently able to find any services as the airport is closed. He said, “While the hopes of economic development are pinned on regular flight operations, aircraft have not landed at the airport for two and a half years. Attention from the concerned authorities for regular flight operation is crucial.”

As the airport is not operational and the fare is also high, even if service seekers are present in Baitadi, they can’t get services. Ganesh Raval, mayor of Patan, explained that coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority has been maintained for regular air service operation. He said, “Though there is potential for tourism in this area, the regular operation of air services is essential. The regular operation of flights will benefit passengers as well.”

Since the airport’s operation was halted, the infrastructure worth more than 16 crores has become useless. With aircrafts not landing at Patan Airport for two and a half years now, the areas near the runway have turned into places for picnicking and taking photos.
Additionally, grass has overgrown on the runway. Fencing was constructed to protect the airport premises and even the barbed wire fences have been torn down. The maintenance of this airport, which has remained unattended since the runway’s deterioration, has been non-existent for over 26 years.

After the airport was shut down due to the aircraft maintenance feud, it was completely closed in 2052 B.S. It reopened for test flights in 2036 B.S. and had been operating regular flights from 2036 to 2052 B.S. In 2077 Ashoj 17, Summit Air began conducting test flights, and from Ashoj 30, they commenced regular weekly flights between Dhangadhi-Patan-Dhangadhi.

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