Dhangadhi: The airport in Patan Baitadi has been closed since a year. Dhangadhi - Baitadi - Dhangadhi weekly flight services has been completely closed recently. Flight services have been inconvenient for a long time as Summit Air has been flying one day a week on Thursday. The service has been stopped due to lack of passengers. Summit Air has a capacity of eighteen passengers. Patan-Dhangadhi air travel is 17 minutes. It is believed that passengers stopped taking flights after the rise in the airfare. The flight prices increased from rupees 3,850 to 5000 for a 17 minutes air journey.
Initially, when the air service started operation, the fare was set at 3,850 rupees. Ramakrishna Bhatta, head of Dhangadhi Airport, said that the air services to Baitadi, Doti and Achham are closed. He said, "There is a problem because of the weather. However, there are weekly flights in Baitadi, Doti and Achham. Nepal Airlines offer services for three days in Doti.
Air services to Baitadi, Doti and Achham have not been regular for a long time. Citizens who have to come to Dhangadhi unexpectedly from hilly districts face problems. The discontinuation of the services has tremendously affected patients who need urgent medical help. Patan Airport, which was in operation since 2036, was 1st closed in 2051. The second largest airport in Far-West was put into operation again in 2077 after 26 years.
Along with Summit Air, Nepal Biosewa Corporation doesn't operate regular flights in hilly districts. It is claimed that flights are cancelled due to bad weather in hilly districts. Although crores of rupees have been spent on the construction and upgradition of the airport, the flight services remain uncertain. The flights coming from Baitadi, Doti and Achham in the hilly districts are closed at the moment.
Private companies, including Nepal Biosewa Nigam, which have been approved by the Government of Nepal for flights, have not started services yet. There are airports in all hilly districts except Dadeldhura. But the people of the state are suffering due to lack of regular air service especially when the Bhimdatta highway connecting seven hilly districts is blocked due to landslides.