Saurya Airlines struggle for existence; airport pending fees

-S. SIERRA-KATHMANDU

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu has provided the jet domestic carrier Saurya Airlines with an ultimatum of 7 days to clear all the pending dues to the airport authority or its operation could be shut down. The airport management illustrates a figure of 16.5 million Nepalese Rupees due to be paid by Saurya Airlines since a year back.

Although the authority had been claiming the due payments time and again, the airlines had been making reasons and postponing the date for payment. The payment reaming is the fees total including landing fees, 2 aircraft’s parking fees, communication and navigation fees, security fees, counter and room fees.

This seems like to create a trouble in the new management of Saurya Airlines within short period of their ownership of the company. The new management team had very recently bought the ownership of the airlines in 670 million Rupees and restarted its operation.

Because the airlines neglected the payment despite of many approaches from airport authority, we are now obliged to provide a deadline to ban on the flight of Saurya Airlines told Raj Kumar Chhetri, the General Manager of TIA. He also informed its flight operation time would be cut off one to two hours per day until the operation hour counts zero if it fails to pay the dues until the deadline.

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The due amount was previously 29.7 million rupees a couple of years back in which the airlines had paid 6.7 million only with 24.2 million remaining. After numerous installments the figure dropped to 16.5 million Rupees and that has not been paid since a year despite of numerous notices from the airport authorities to the payee.

Airport Service Fee Regulation 2067 rule 30 illustrates that any airline or company if unable to pay the dues of

Airport in a period of 60 days, the General Manager of airport inherits the full authority to restrict the air operation of the airline or block the operation of the company. The rule 29 of the same regulation 2067 also illustrates that General Manager of the airport would be the responsible for collection of such services fees.

The airline resumed its operation from August 23 after a long gap with new management board. It has been operating 2 flights to Biratnagar, 1 to Bhairahawa, 1 to Bhadrapur and another one to Nepalgunj with its only one airworthy CRJ 200 series aircraft. The 2nd CRJ 200 lies grounded at TIA for maintenance.

Saurya Airlines has also obtained route permissions to fly to major cities of Nepal. It has also got the approval to extend its fleet with Dornier 328 and SAB 340 B series aircraft from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation previously.

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