Jumla Airport at Khalanga Bazaar, the district headquarters, has not been upgraded. The detailed project report (DPR) prepared for the upgrade is also missing. Although the Civil Aviation Authority and Buddha Air made DPR two years ago, it has not been implemented yet.
The DPR had estimated the cost of upgrading the airport to be more than Rs 10 million but NEA was not interested in it, locals said. The late Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari had promised to build an airport to accommodate a 40-seat capacity ship. There is a problem in landing the ship at the airport due to the narrow runway.
There was no loss of life even though the Tara Air plane crashed on the runway of Jumla Airport on June 10, 2075 BS. At that time, there was an initiative to upgrade the airport and the NEA team returned to Jumla several times but nothing happened. There are at least three to five daily flights from Nepalgunj to Jumla. According to the airport office, the pilot used to fly on the narrow runway despite taking risks.
Tara Air pilot Prabhakar Ghimire says the longer the runway, the safer and more reliable it is, but the runways in the Himalayan districts, including Jumla, are not very long. He said that there was an obligation to fly and land between Jomikh.
Chief of the airport, Prakash Sharma, says that a large ship is needed considering the pressure of the passengers and for that, the airport needs to be upgraded. Currently, 18-seater ships are operating in Jumla, Dolpa, Mugu and Humla. He said that there was a need to upgrade the airport and operate large ships in Jumla among other districts of Karnali due to high passenger pressure.
Karma Budha, deputy chief of the district coordination committee, complains that NEA and Buddha Air have not shown any interest even though the DPR was prepared two years ago.