Nepal and Japan sign air service agreement for direct flights

The agreement has been made between Japan and Nepal to permit Nepali carriers to operate flights in all airports except Haneda in Tokyo.

Pramod Nepal, Under Secretary Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, confirmed Japan government has agreed to allow operating 14 flights weekly for airline operators of Nepal.

Representatives from Nepal and Japan after the signing of the agreement

Haneda Airport, the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Japan, is the fifth busiest airport in the world. Haneda is more desirable because it is just 15 km from Tokyo, compared to some 65 km for Narita International Airport.

The ministry level discussion was held on March 4 (Sunday) with Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) over the draft before sending its comments.

Allotting 400 weekly seats, Nepal and Japan had signed the BASA on February 17, 1993. Before the suspension of the national flag carrier on the route due to lack of aircraft, it used to fly to Osaka via Shanghai till 2008.

Nepal has signed ASA’s with 38 countries since 1963, with New Zealand and Vietnam being the latest countries. This provides 6 million seats per annum to and from Nepal. However, less than 40 percent of this capacity has been put to use. At the present scenario, 29 international airlines are operating flights from Kathmandu to 22 cities in Asia and Europe.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in comparison to the 31,531 Nepalese living in Japan at the end of 2013, the number has surged up to more than 60,000. Nepali community is the fifth largest foreign community in Japan. And the number is likely to grow substantially in coming years as 2020 Olympic Games is about to approach on Japan, the ministry said. Every year, over 10,000 Nepali students goes Japan to pursue higher studies. And it has been the 2nd most preferred destination for Nepali students looking to study abroad.

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