Nepal’s Sky: 38 in agreement but only 14 in operation
May 1, 2016 – Only one of the third portions of airlines who made air service agreement for flying in the sky of Nepal are now operating in Nepal. The count has reached to 38 countries who agreed to fly in Nepal making Air Service Agreement (A.S.A) with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, however only 14 countries’ 28 airlines are operating regular scheduled service at present.
The air service agreements made without the proper survey and arrangements from the government authorities and political authorities is the key factor for this situation. Some of the countries that made agreement have not shown any interest in flying Nepal even after 10 years of the agreement date. The officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) also informed that the agreements based on personal interests and beyond the capacity of handling the number of airlines without proper arrangements is the main reason for most of the flying being unable to operate in Nepal. Because of the unfavorable situation of aviation and lack of preparation from the government, rests of the airlines are not showing any interest in providing their service here.
Nepal itself can’t invite and request all the operators on the agreement to fly here in spite of the agreements already done because of availability of only one International Airport which faces major or minor problems time to time and due to which the operation of a lot of airlines would really create congestion and a problematic situation.
There are more than a half dozen airlines that stopped their operation in Nepal and resumed back never in Nepal according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (Nepal). The ministry also informed that 8 years before, Austria and Germany after 2002 stopped flying in Nepal contrasting the technical problems with the service. These shows that different airlines stopped flying here showing technical faults and major other are never interested flying here.
Croatia, France, Luxemburg, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Macau, Russia and England are the countries which are not operating in Nepal in spite of the Air Service Agreement made between countries ages a decade ago. The agreement writes that those countries can operate any time favorable for them and the Nepal Government should be ready to clear the way for their operation that time according to Vice Advisory of Ministry Pramod Nepal. He added there is weakness on our side due to government not being able to present the required interest to clear way for the operation of the airlines after A.S.A. is done. The airlines will operate on their favorable situation; therefore we are the one responsible to make it happen according to him.
There are a very limited number of travelers from countries like Croatia, Egypt, Luxemburg and Jordan but still the contemporary king of Nepal focused on making an ASA on personal behalf claims, said the high officials’ source of Ministry. The airlines who themselves are interested in flying Nepal after making ASA, quickly start their operation making the proper arrangements without delay.
Additional two airlines from Bangladesh recently got the permission for flying in Nepal while two of its airlines are already making regular scheduled flights here. Novo Air and U.S. Bangla Airways are the two airlines that have completed their internal preparations and are in the phase of making the final preparations to start their regular service in Nepal. Mr. Nepal also said that Novo Air will start its service from July 1 and U.S. Bangla will start its service from May 15 in Nepal. Both of these airlines have attained permission to operate daily i.e. 7 flights a week with a permission to serve 850 travelers a week.
U.S. Bangla Air has introduced a promotional fare of NRs. 14,000 for Colombo – Kathmandu flight. This airline is selling the tour packages to visit Nepal from Bangladesh. The package costs a minimum of NRs. 18,000 for Kathmandu tour, NRs. 24,500 for Nagarkot tour and NRs. 36,000 for Pokhara tour. The package will cover three days and two night stay of the tourists. The flight will be carried with a DHC-8 series airplane of Bombardier.
This Bombardier airplane going to be used by Novo Air is also same kind like the Buddha Air’s ATR 72 with 72 seat capacity on both. The airlines will provide service with the same kind of 72 seater aircraft in Nepal from Bangladesh.
With this the airlines that have taken permission to operate in Nepal reaches a count of 6. Before this an airline from Bangladesh GMG stopped flying in Nepal since five years back and this airline is not existing in Bangladesh too at present. Biman Bangladesh and United Airways are operating regular flights in Nepal. Regent Air that took permission of service a year ago has not shown any interest in commencing its flight while Novo Air and U.S. Bangla Air recently received the permission from Ministry and are in final preparations for their first flight in Nepal.