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Nepalese ministries monitor int'l airport

KATHMANDU, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Five Nepalese ministries on Wednesday decided to monitor its only international airport after it has been ranked as the world's third worst airport by a famous travel website, saying the airport resembled a "bus station in an impoverished neighborhood."

"A Rapid Response Team headed by a joint-secretary of Home Ministry comprising of representatives from Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Tourism and TIA was formed today and will begin to work from today," Mohan Krishna Sapkota, spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation told Xinhua on Wednesday.

According to the spokesperson, the team's main task is to closely monitor the condition of the airport.

That came after the annual survey report conducted by Guide to Sleeping in Airports which placed TIA behind the world's worst airport, only after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto International Airport and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

It ranked Singapore's Changi Airport as the world's best, in terms of the levels of comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.

Built in the early 1950s, TIA now welcomes about 500,000 international tourists annually.

In 1975, the total length of the runway was increased from two kilometers to three kilometers and since then no comprehensive study has been done to find out the exact condition of the runway.

It has been about four decades since the TIA runway was constructed but no work has been executed to examine its actual state. Time and again, the landing and taking off have been halted owing to the potholes on the runway.

Unmanaged customer service, lack of sanitation, sufficient infrastructures, crowded terminals, long queues, limited seating, unfriendly immigration and customs officers, bathrooms without soaps, smelly toilets, filthy smoking rooms and lack of air- conditioners are the determining factors in ranking TIA as the third worst airport in the world.

X-Ray machines and haphazard screening of baggage have also given travelers the worst lasting impression.

Skytrax, which also scales air travel and airport services worldwide on the basis of customer review, also rated TIA at just 3.7 out of 10.

TIA deals with more than 40 international flights with at least 9,000 arrivals and departures daily.

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