India-Nepal concept of air bubble to remove: Indian Civil Aviation Minister

Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia has said that flights based on the concept of the air bubble, which allowed only a limited number of flights to Nepal and India due to Covid, could be removed and opened based on demand from both countries.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya stated this during a meeting with Nepal’s Tourism Minister Prem Bahadur Ale in New Delhi on Friday.

Nepal and India have been flying only to Kathmandu and Delhi in the air bubble concept for the past year. At present, flag carriers of both countries are operating one flight a day.

Photo from Kantipur

India has not resumed Kathmandu-Mumbai, Kathmandu-Bangalore, Kathmandu-Kolkata, Kathmandu-Banaras flights which were suspended after 2020 April. During the meeting between the two ministers, Tourism Minister Ale said that he wanted to increase the number of flights on the Delhi-Kathmandu route per Nepali passengers’ demand and requested Aviation Minister Scindia to resume flights to Mumbai and Bangalore. He also urged Aviation Minister Scindia to remove the air bubble concept as the corona infection rate is now declining.

Aviation Minister Scindia had replied to Tourism Minister Ale that the air bubble could be removed in a few months. Similarly, Minister for Tourism Ale also requested to make the western route Lima-626 connecting Nepal with India and other Middle Eastern and Western countries in both directions.

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The aircraft flying west from Kathmandu can pass through Mahendranagar and reach Delhi, Doha, and Istanbul. However, aircraft are not allowed to enter Kathmandu from these destinations through the sky above Mahendranagar. Earlier, in 2018, India had signed a memorandum of understanding to make this route bilateral. However, even after three years, it has not been implemented. “We are inaugurating Bhairahawa Airport from the Prime Minister soon. We need your help to make the Lima-626 route two-way,” said Tourism Minister Ale.

Aviation Minister Scindia, who has spent her childhood in Nepal, has asked to send a written statement after hearing the words of Tourism Minister Ale. During the 15-minute meeting, he expressed his commitment to helping Nepal as it is a sign of blood.

Minister Ale, who landed in New Delhi for one day only on Friday afternoon, had a meeting with Minister of State for Tourism Ajay Bhatt before meeting him. The two ministers discussed cultural and tourism promotion between Nepal and India.

This news has been derived from Kantipur.

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