– S. SIERRA, KATHMANDU
After a gap of 47 long years, Nepal and Thailand are approaching to regenerate a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) between the two countries to operate the flight services. The previous ASA prevailing dates back to 1971 when it was introduced and hence after which no amendments and reviews to the ASA were made.
A bilateral agreement will be made on a meeting between the two countries’ representatives In Bangkok. The meeting is scheduled on 1st and 2nd of November. The agreement is supposed to overlook the previously incorporated ASA, displace and introduce a newly reformed one to replace the current ASA.
‘One of the important consideration to be made in the new ASA is to increase the flight frequency from 10 to 21 per week in the sector’ said Suresh Acharya, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA).
There is a need of inclusion of new possibilities in about a half-century old ASA and thus the agreement has been made possible only after a long effort and numerous approaches he added.
Thai Airways conduct a regular single flight to Kathmandu from Thailand, Thai Lion conducts 3 flights a week from Thailand. From Nepal, the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines has been conducting flights to Thailand, and also private carrier Himalaya Airlines has proposed to fly to Thailand. Since the flight frequency needs to be added very soon in the future, the new agreement has to be emphasized and enforced with newer provisions.
A five members subcommittee will depart Thailand in the leadership of Suresh Acharya to Bangkok for the agreement soon.
The ASA will also include the topics on flights to be done to Thailand from Gautam Buddha International Airport of Nepal for the very first time and thus carries a significance.
The agreement is supposed to cover at least 7 weekly flights from Gautam Buddha International Airport to destinations of Bangkok and Phuket. Currently, the airline from Nepal has been flying to Bangkok only in Thailand as it is a major transit hub and handles a lot of passengers to and fro from Kathmandu to Bangkok and vice versa.