HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Crowded terminals, lack of cleanliness and unmanaged customer service, among others, have placed Tribhuvan International Airport as the third worst airport in the world, according to a survey conducted by Guide to Sleeping in Airports.
Releasing an annual survey report conducted from September 2013 to August 2014 to identify the world’s best and worst aviation terminals, the travel website says Nepal’s only international airport eloquently resembled a ‘bus station in an impoverished neighbourhood’.
TIA, which handles at least 40 international flights with more than 9,000 arrivals and departures daily, has been placed behind the world’s worst Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, it said.
Reviewers highlighted overcrowding, long queues, limited seating, unfriendly immigration and customs officers and smelly toilets to describe the state of TIA.
Cleanliness is a chief concern, with many commenting on the sorry state of the bathrooms and absolute lack of soap. The report adds that travellers also take issue with lack of air-conditioning and a filthy smoking room.
“Generally, travellers discourage sleeping here because of the sad state of the airport, and also because it goes against local norms. With plenty of security officials wandering about, sleeping here is not a pleasant experience,” the website said. It ranked Singapore’s Changi Airport as the world’s best with participants in the survey measuring levels of comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
The airport manager of an international carrier mentioned that TIA’s facilities had not improved. “Dirty floors, bathrooms or food courts and uncomfortable and limited seating at the terminal give tourists a nightmarish experience,” he says. According to him, the recently installed X-Ray machines and haphazard screening of baggage have also given travellers the worst lasting impression. “Passengers have to queue for hours to get visas and immigration clearance and to receive their luggage.”
When contacted, TIA General Manager Rishikesh Sharma refused to comment.
Based on customer review, Skytrax which rates air travel and airport services worldwide has also given just 3.7 out of 10 to TIA.