Call for proposals for international flight permits from Domestic Airlines- MoCTCA

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The government has called for proposals from domestic airlines seeking to operate in international route. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has sought proposals from interested domestic airlines that meet the required criteria for operating international flights.

In order to upgrade the domestic airline and operate the service from three aircraft as international airlines, the following details related to the paid-up capital certified by the Company Registration Office will have to be submitted. In the proposal, it has been stated that the working capital should be NRs. 1 billion for class A, Nrs. Seven Hundred Fifty Million for class B and NRs. 500 million for class C. If international airlines operate from more than three aircraft, an additional NRs. 100 million will have to be added to the above-mentioned paid-up capital for each additional aircraft.

Suresh Acharya, Joint-Secretary of the Ministry, said that a proposal has been sought from a domestic airline to operate international flights. “The Gautam Buddha Airport will be in operational soon after this COVID-19 lockdown. The proposal has also been sought for airlines wishing to fly to nearby international destinations. On the other hand, the process has been expedited to allow interested companies as increase in cargo and chartered flights,” said Acharya.

Joint Secretary Acharya said that one of the two processes for obtaining permission to operate international airlines is by inviting proposals and the other is through open competition. International operation license can also be granted through open competition by fulfilling the specified criteria. After completing the current 45-day process, it will be possible to go for open competition again.

In order to be upgraded from domestic airline to an international airline under the qualification of an airline wishing to fly internationally, the airline must have been operating continuously for five consecutive years, have the required paid-up capital for operation and have at least five aircraft operating with the airline.

After evaluating the qualified domestic airlines, a license will be issued to the qualified domestic airlines to operate international airlines. After obtaining the license from the Ministry, the regulatory body has to get the Operation Permit (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

According to the decision of the Council of Ministers on April 27, the proposal has been invited from interested domestic airlines who have fulfilled the qualifications and conditions to operate international airlines as per the provisions of the Rules of Procedure for Licensing of International Air Services to the Private Sector of Nepal.

At present, Airlines of Nepal have permission for international flights but there is no license for cargo airline (cargo). With the permission of international flights, the companies will be able to operate cargo, chartered and scheduled flights. At present, private sector Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines and Shree Airlines have license to operate in International sector in Nepal in which Yeti Airlines had obtained permission under the name ‘Yeti International’. The company is currently operating international flights under the name Himalayan Airlines in collaboration with China. Shree Airlines has not been able to operate international flights.

Similarly, Buddha Air has been flying to Vanaras, India. During this lockdown period, all three companies have been operating cargo and chartered flights to various South Asian countries. Shree had chartered flights to Singapore and Sudan, while Buddha had flown three times for rescue flights to Bangladesh. The Himalayas have chartered flights to Guangzhou and Changsha Huanghua International Airport in China.

It is said that, Domestic Airlines including Saurya and Sita are said to be interested in international flights. Nineteen airlines, including 10 helicopters, have been operating domestic flights in Nepal. Currently, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Himalayan Airlines and Buddha Air have been operating international flights.

Similarly, the demand for flights is increasing as a large number of students from India, Bangladesh and Australia want to come to Nepal. However, for these flights, a decision has to be made by the COVID-19 High-Level Prevention and Control Committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ishwor Pokharel. At present, there is pressure for cargo and rescue flights from India, Bangladesh, South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Japan, the ministry said.

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