In preparation for #VisitNepalYear2020, Kathmandu’s Tinkune International airport (TIA) has been rebranded as Boutique Airport Nepal (BAN). This is a cunning strategy to take the minds of passengers off all the facilities that a normal airport should have, but which are lacking at Nepal’s only international gateway.
So, what exactly does a Boutique Airport have that an International Airport does not? I put some FAQs to the head honcho of the Civil Authoritarians of Nepal’s Transportation (CAN’T), and got a rundown of the following features:
The only airport in the world that has a life-size rhinoceros with calf ready to charge at deplaning passengers.
In keeping with Nepal as an adventure destination, the airport gives visitors a pre-taste of what to expect in Kathmandu, proving once more that Nepal is not for the faint-hearted.
Kathmandu Airport has been voted among the Top Ten Worstest Airports in the World for the third year in a row. This is a clever move by CAN’T to get free international publicity for #VNY2020
A Boutique Airport must stand out by not having a boring steel and glass concourse. Which is why the Department of Irritating Customs has ensured that arrival formalities are a maze: there are separate serpentine queues for filling out the e-visa form on a dysfunctional console, to pay the visa fee, for the immigration stamp, lining up for an hour at the x-ray to check if you are mettle free and have no gold stuck up your Ass. This is all a very subtle way of showing Nepal is such a popular adventure destination that people are lining up just to get in.
The baggage carousels at a Boutique Airport have to be designed differently from other international airports. Which is why at KTM no information is provided about which conveyor the luggage from your flight is on. This keeps arriving passengers on their toes, keeps them guessing, and there is never a dull moment at the start of a Nepal horriday.
The decibel level of the public announcement system at a Boutique Airport is always deliberately kept at maximum as a courtesy to those who are hard of hearing. The audio volume is also adjusted so as to bust the ear drums of those who have normal hearing.
Arriving from Hong Kong, you are shanghaied by taxis.
To give you more bang for the buck, the Ministry of Tourism and Maoism has now ensured your trek starts at the airport itself by allowing passengers to descend a steep trail with the assistance of Sherpas to a parking lot located in the valley below.
To make it easy for tourists to navigate, departure procedures at the Boutique Airport are in exact reverse order of the arrival process.