09 February, Illam: A test flight has been completed at Falgunananda-Sukilumba Airport in Ilam, which is preparing for a commercial flight. A test flight of Nepal Airlines Corporation’s twin-engine aircraft took off on Wednesday afternoon. The test flight was conducted five months after the runway of the airport was completed.
Commercial flights will start from Falgunananda-Sukilumba Airport on 21 February. Tara Airlines is preparing to fly Kathmandu-Ilam-Kathmandu one day a week. An agreement has been signed between Ilam Municipality and Tara Airlines for regular flights according agreement airlines operate flights every Sunday. As per the agreement, Ilam Municipality will have to guarantee 11-11 passengers on the way. The municipality will have to bear the fare of fewer than 11 passengers. The one-way fare for air travel has been fixed at Rs 8,700.
The agreement also stipulates that the municipality should manage the staff required for the flight and arrange ground service. Regular flights from the airport will help in the promotion of tourism in Ilam. Stakeholders say that tourists who want to come here do not come to Ilam due to the hassle of long journeys as there was no air travel in Ilam. Regular flights from Falgunananda-Sukilamba Airport will facilitate air travel for passengers from Ilam, Panchthar, India, Darjeeling, and Sikkim.
The construction of the airport has been completed after ten years. The process of construction of the airport was started in 2058 BS. The construction work started only in 2068 BS. The construction of the airport was completed only in 2078 BS, ten years after the construction started.