TIA’s runway visibility range equipment incomplete

The runway visual range equipment installed at Tribhuvan International Airport is incomplete, as the most important feature of a complete RVR system has been missing since its installation.

Documentation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, seen by this daily clearly state that among all the constituents necessary to implement a complete RVR as per the standard norms promulgated by ICAO in Annex 3 (Meteorological service for international air navigation), the runway light intensity monitoring component has not been implemented at TIA.

According to the documents, the RVR assessment on runways with prevailing visibility of less than 1,500 metres is also predicated on the intensity of the runway lighting at the instant of RVR value assessment.“Interestingly, the technical specifications for the installation of RVR at TIA specified only the ‘visibility sensor for RVR’ in the invitation for bid,” officials at TIA told this daily.

According to them, the specification was prepared by the Japan Airport Consultants and vetted by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal in 2012 under the Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project.

The prevailing meteorological conditions at the time of Turkish Airlines’ crash-landing on March 4, necessitated the operation of runway lights whose intensity should have been taken into consideration for the determination of RVR, a source at CAAN admitted. “Besides, for an RVR to be deemed operational, the Aeronautical Information Publication-Nepal is required to state that an RVR assessment is available for a particular runway and the manner in which it is intended to be used.” While the hourly meteorological reports issued by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the authorised aviation meteorological services provider, also needs to specifically indicate the RVR values in the appropriate field; TIA authority, however, has no idea about these issues, which are directly related to air safety.

Senior Divisional Hydrologist at DHM Suman Kumar Regmi claimed that CAAN was solely responsible for

handling RVR-generated data. DHM has already written to CAAN informing it that it could use the data. “But CAAN has not used the data till date,” Regmi told this daily.

This negligence can be attributed to the lack of a qualified meteorologist in CAAN who could have raised a red flag at the onset, aviation experts told THT.

But interestingly, CAAN had deputed its engineers for factory acceptance and maintenance training at the RVR manufacturers’ facility in Finland without having a clue as to what they were meant to do, they revealed.

Without sharing details, CAAN sources said senior officials from both the agencies held a meeting this afternoon to discuss the meteorological lapses, including dysfunctional status of RVR equipment at TIA.

Source: THT