Nepal Airlines commercial flight to Japan to be delayed

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-KATHMANDU

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC); the state-owned flag carrier of the nation has delayed recommencing its commercial flight service to Japan until the end of September to November-end because of the incomplete preparations for the flight.

The newly-appointed Executive Chairman for NAC, Mr. Madan Kharel stated that the recommencing flight for Japan had been planned to inaugurate from September but many of the documentation and the formality has not been accomplished yet.

NAC recently has vowed to launch four direct new destinations Seoul in South Korea, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Beijing or Guangzhou in China and Tokyo in Japan. The flight to Japan is anticipated to start by November. But flights to Seoul and Riyadh will only be determined after the audit reports.

The officials from Civil Aviation Authority of South Korea and General Authority of Civil Aviation Saudi Arabia (GACA) is anticipated to visit Nepal in October in-order to conduct a safety audit of NAC before permitting it to fly Seoul and Riyadh.

NAC has formed a committee under the cooperation of NAC former deputy managing director Raju Bahadur KC, which will examine and prepare the operating cost, feasibility and benefit on those sectors to begin the commercial flight at the earliest.

The Tourism Ministry has permitted the corporation to conduct direct flight from Kathmandu to Narita International Airport near Tokyo, Japan from September 2018. The flights will be conducted on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week as per the plan. For operating the flight in Japan, NAC had invited a proposal for ground handling. After the conclusion of bids, NAC will appoint NAC’s general sales agent in Japan by the board of directors within a few days for Narita Airport. The national flag carrier plans to resume its Japan service after a 10-year break with three weekly flights to Tokyo post the arrival of wide-body Airbus A330-243 series aircraft having a capacity of 274 seats.

NAC had begun preparations to operate flights to Kansai International Airport, Osaka as it was not allowed to serve other airports in Japan under the old air service agreement (ASA). On June 18, Nepal and Japan revised the ASA, increasing the number of flights sevenfold from twice weekly to 14 weekly flights with any type of aircraft on a reciprocal basis. The revised ASA allows NAC to fly to Narita International Airport and other airports in Japan.

The bilateral air agreement between Japan and Nepal conducted on the first week of June has been reviewed which allowed both nations to operate 14 flights.

According to another agreement with Japan made two and a half decades ago, the airlines from both countries could operate 2 flights with its 400 seat aircraft. The government of Japan has provided a green signal for Nepalese Carrier to land at all the airport in Japan except Haneda Airport in Tokyo during the discussions over amending the air service agreement (ASA) between the two countries.

After being unable to operate flights at the airport of Haneda, the best option for NAC is Narita International Airport. The national flag carrier used to fly to Osaka via Shanghai until 2008 when it was forced to suspend the route due to lack of aircraft.

The national flag carrier of Nepal has already received the slot to operate to Tokyo in Japan and Incheon in South Korea but the authority of respective country has not provided international AOC (Air Operator’s Certificate).

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