Nepal Airlines awaiting flight approval for China, Himalaya Airlines for India

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has not got any response from China since long time for the agreement to fly to Guangzhou, the third largest city in South Central China. NAC applied for an operating Authorization in 2015 to operate flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

Tibet Airlines had sent the application to Ministry Of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) for operating flights to Kathmandu from Chengdu, China last year. The ministry gave operational permission however, NAC could not receive such permission from Chinese side.

According to Bilateral Air Service Agreement, airlines of both nations should conduct equal flights however, the neighbor nation has hesitated to provide permission.

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.

Chinese airlines were allowed to operate 14 flights a week according to the old ASA. Currently, Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines and Tibet Airlines are operating regular flights to Nepal.

China could be the top tourist generator for Nepal as it is poised to overtake India so, it will be beneficial for NAC if flight permission is approved from China.

Likewise Himalaya Airlines, Nepal’s private airline company applied to operate flights to New Delhi after the carrier came into operation. However, the Airlines still has not received the permission to fly New Delhi.

Nepal government easily grants permission for the Chinese or Indian airlines whereas Nepalese Airlines Company has not been able to acquire permission from China or India. In addition, Nepal government has not yet been even able to hold talks with it.

Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Rabindra Shrestha stated that Indian side has said informally that due to Chinese investment in Himalaya Airlines, the permission to operate flights cannot be allowed. Although the majority of the ownership of the Nepali is mentioned in the paper, in fact, the Indian side did not allow saying the majority is owned by Chinese.

Currently, India’s 3 airlines have been conducting 65 flights in a week in Kathmandu while NAC conduct 39 flights only which means that the Indian airline has been conducting more than 26 flights in a week than NAC. According to this, Himalaya Airline should have permission for Delhi flight.

According to the Nepal-China Air Agreements, Nepal’s Airlines can operate flight to 7 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Kunming, Xinjiang and Xian¬) of China. China did not provide slot to NAC in Beijing and the same condition is for granting permission flight to Guanzhou.

Currently, China’s airlines companies have been conducting 48 flights from the various airports to Kathmandu weekly. According to the agreement, 70 flights can be conducted in a week.

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