During President Bidhyadevi Bhandari’s visit to Bangladesh this week, Nepal has desired to immediately start the Saidpur-Biratnagar, a 20 minutes flight connecting the two countries.
According to the Nepali Ambassador in Dhaka, Bangladesh has accepted Nepal’s plan, which will now be formalized and sent to the Bangladesh government for implementation.
There is a direct flight between Nepal and Bangladesh, and about 30,000 Bangladeshis are said to visit Kathmandu each year.
Officials anticipate that the new air route would strengthen ties between the two countries and help Nepal attract more visitors.
New air route
Following President Bhandari’s two-day visit, Bangladesh’s foreign ministry issued a press release on Tuesday addressing the proposed air route.
According to the release, Bangladesh welcomed Nepal’s request to begin direct flights from Saidpur Airport in Bangladesh to Biratnagar or Bhadrapur Airport in Eastern Nepal.
Nepal’s Ambassador to Dhaka, Vansidhar Mishra, said that if air service is established, people of North East Bangladesh will easily fly to Nepal.
“We have suggested that the connectivity network be improved so that more Bangladeshi people can visit Nepal and Nepalis can visit Bangladesh.
Bhadrapur Airport is about 15 minutes away from Saidpur Airport, and Biratnagar Airport is about 20 minutes away.”
He said, “Saidpur Airport is currently being expanded as a regional airport by the Bangladesh government.
We are currently working on the expansion, but in the meantime, it is confirmed that ATR planes carrying approximately 70 seats can land immediately.”
Since Saidpur and Biratnagar airports have more facilities than Bhadrapur, Nepal has set a plan to link them in the first phase.
Ambassador Mishra added, “Bangladesh is very positive and agrees with our proposal. The Prime Minister of that country has emphasized it. Nepal has promised to send a formal proposal as soon as possible. Good news will come soon.”
Apart from trade and tourism, Bangladeshi experts said the move, which was decided in 2020, would positively affect the regional economy.
What’s the benefit?
Nepal is popular among Bangladeshi tourists, but it is said that the flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu is expensive. It isn’t easy to get a land transit visa to enter Nepal via India.
“If properly planned, Nepal can be a potential market for Bangladesh. The more flight connection, the more profitable it is. As Nepal is an import-dependent country, Bangladesh can benefit from Nepal’s expanding market.”
Currently, Biman Bangladesh is flying directly from Dhaka, and Himalaya Airlines is flying direct from Kathmandu to Bangladesh.
Mishra, the ambassador to Bangladesh, claims that the Saidpur-Birnagar route’s opening would be beneficial for Nepal’s tourism.