A circular to the Nepal Airlines Corporation was issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to plan ground handling facilities at Pokhara and Bhairahawa International Airport. Such a circular was released by the regulatory body and the government’s decision to delegate the responsibility of ground handling to the Nepal Airlines Corporation at both airports.
The construction work of Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara Regional International Airport has reached its final level, according to Raj Kumar Chettri, Spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. The Board of Directors of the CAAN agreed last week to send a circular to the Corporation.
There was a controversy a few months back after Himalayan Airlines was assigned the task of self-ground handling at Tribhuvan International Airport, After that; Yogesh Bhattarai, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, opposed the decision and agreed to hand it over to the Nepal Airlines.
Two months ago, it was agreed to hand over the responsibility for the ground handling of the airports being established in Bhairahawa and Pokhara to the Corporation owned by the government. “We have started the work by providing the necessary documents,” said Dimprakash Poudel, the Nepal Airlines managing director.
According to him, the proposal to have separate units in Bhairahawa and Pokhara was sent to the CAAN. At Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal Airlines is also performing ground handling work. From this, Nepal Airlines making over Rs 5 billion annually.
The Corporation, which has suffered losses from domestic flights, operates the company by receiving income from ground handling. For the same cause, ground handling is essential for the company, said Poudel, managing director of Nepal Airlines.
Bhairahawa airport’s physical construction work is 93% complete. It is estimated that the airport will be operational by 2021.
The construction of the airport was granted to the Chinese company Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction in 2016, to be completed in 2018. It is also planned to complete the construction of Pokhara Regional International Airport by next April. Pokhara’s work is also 70 percent complete.
At Tribhuvan international airport, 28 airlines are operating. Over the past 40 years, Thai Airways and Air India have been managing the ground handling services. Dozens of airlines have flown since then, but Nepal Airlines has been delegated for Ground services. The company would also assume control of the two airports in response to the government’s decision.
As the skilled human resources needed for the construction of the airport did not come from China, connecting the equipment was halted. Similarly, over 65 percent of Pokhara Regional International Airport’s work has been completed. The last date for the construction of the airport to be finished is July 2021.
The government claims that the airport’s construction work would be finished within the period specified. Nepal Airlines currently operates ground handling services at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Nepal Airlines has annually received Rs 4 to 5 billion from ground handling services. The revenue from FY 076/77 and the current fiscal year, however, has decreased.