A minister-level decision by Civil Aviation ministry on Sunday has approved national flag carrier airline Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to operate flights to Osaka, Seoul and Riyadh. The ministry designated the international long routes to Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia for NAC to serve after it receives two new wide-body A330 aircraft within next six months.
NAC will be allowed to operate four weekly flights each to Osaka and Seoul and one daily flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
NAC’s proposal to create air links with these countries will be addressed through diplomatic channels after ministry gives approval for which NAC has to apply for operating authorization at the civil aviation ministries or authorities of the respective countries.
Nepal and Japan signed Air Service Agreement (ASA) that allowed 400 weekly seats and NAC conducted flights to Osaka through Shanghai only till 2008 due to lack of aircraft.
Likewise, Nepal and South Korea signed an ASA in September 2004 after considering South Korea as another important country for increasing passenger movement.
Similarly, Nepal and Saudi Arabia signed an ASA in October 2015. The corporation has already invited Sealed Quotations from all the interested Commercial Ground Handling Service Provider (Authorized by the concerned Airport Authority/Local Civil Aviation Authority) for providing Ground Handling at King Khalid International Airport (RUH) located at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Previously, NAC had announced resuming its London service after acquiring two wide-body jets but the prevailing ban by European Union (EU) will not allow NAC to do so.
Meanwhile, Nepal has proposed signing an ASA with Australia. There were 41,000 one-way travelers between Australia and Nepal in 2014. Nepal Airlines is also been planning to operate flights to Gangzhou Baiyun International Airport, which is the third busiest airport in China in terms of passenger traffic however; the Chinese side is delaying the approval. NAC applied for an operating Authorization in 2015 to operate flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
In February 2014, Nepal and China signed a revised bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA). The agreement allowed 56 flights per week with any type of aircraft on a mutual basis. The agreement allowed each country to enhance the flight rate to 70 per week by 2016.
At some time, NAC used to fly to Amsterdam, Colombo, Dhaka, Frankfurt, Karachi, London, Osaka, Shanghai and Singapore, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Patna but now it connects Kathmandu with Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.