Issuing and renewing licenses to fly international routes has created controversy between Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
MoCTCA has received application from Shree Airlines which is expecting license to operate internationally. Likewise, two defunct airlines; Alpine Air and BB Airways have also requested renewal of their flying licenses. Moreover, the ministry is also expecting applications from new airline companies.
Alpine Air has requested approval for its international flying license renewal. The company lost its AOC in 2013 following failure in launching services however, it can apply for AOC if flying license gets renewed. The ministry has coordinated with CAAN for the chance of issuing AOC.
However, CAAN has denied to issue Airline Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to defunct carriers eyeing to come back on Nepali Aviation.
Similarly, BB Airways who recently bought Nepal Airlines Corporation’s Boeing 757 is also experiencing harsh time as CAAN is denying the transfer of ownership and approval of flight permissions.
According to the source, due to the termination of AOC in the past, it will not be possible to register the Boeing 757 ‘9N-ACA’ aircraft to BB airways, the company owned by Nonresident Nepal (NRN), Chairman Bhawan Bhatta.
The ministry has been reviewing the existing rules regarding domestic airlines approval for operating international flights. The existing rule requires 5 years of domestic flying experience and at least three aircraft in the fleet to gain the international flight permissions.
CAAN has already stated that the new airline companies at the present time will not receive AOC due to escalating air traffic and parking bay congestion at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Until and unless the second international airport project completes and comes into operation, the AOC approval is beyond imagination, reports CAAN.
NAC has already received its two Chinese Harbin Y-12e aircraft and will take the delivery of two new A330 by 2075. Likewise, Himalaya Airlines is also planning to add more A320s in coming year. Buddha Air who received its fifth ATR 72 recently has already announced to add 4 more same series within 2 years and also has grand plan to initiate operation with jetliners (Airbus or Boeing). Other domestic operators like Yeti Airlines, Saurya Airlines, and Shree Airlines are also planning to expand their fleet accordingly as demand for the air travel is increasing considerably.
The infrastructure of TIA won’t be able to handle more traffic from now on as the parking space at the country’s only international airport has reached saturation point. So, the airline operators must wait for the air transport capacity enhancement of TIA and the operation of new international airports.