Government of Japan has provided 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.
“We have received the memorandum of understanding (MoU) draft from Japan, and we will be sending our comments after holding necessary discussions,” said Suresh Acharya, Joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Toursim and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). “The MoU draft has specifically clarified that Japan will not be able to grant landing rights at Haneda. It may be due to congestion.” The MoU draft is a formal basis for negotiations. After the agreement between the two countries, the formal date for negotiations and signing the deal will be confirmed, said Acharya.
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. The Japanese side has proposed granting seven weekly flights while Nepal has asked for 14 weekly flights.
The Japanese government also appears to be somewhat rigid on International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) fifth freedom flight right, the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country.
NAC had planned to fly to the Japanese capital of Tokyo, but this did not happen as the air service agreement (ASA) between Nepal and Japan has designated Kansai International Airport in Osaka, an official Stated. In 1993, Nepal and Japan signed the ASA allocating 400 weekly seats.
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 corporation had also invited interested Commercial Ground Handling Service Provider on Feburary 26 in becoming a long-term strategic Ground Handling Service Organization of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) at Kansai International Airport (KIX), Osaka, Japan.
A traffic growth of 77 percent in five years from nearly 48,000 one-way travelers from Japan to Nepal has been reported on the Nepal Air Traffic Analysis which was conducted by Airbus on 2015. Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport account for 68 percent of the traffic from Japan to Nepal.
The MoCTCA is also now working to revise the ASA with Japan to permit Nepalese carriers to fly to other Japanese cities. Distinct from national flag carrier, several private carriers like Buddha Air have planned to serve Japan to bring high-end tourists to Nepal.
Haneda Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the world, the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Japan. Haneda is more desirable because it is just 15 km from Tokyo, compared to some 65 km for Narita International Airport.