The government is going to remove the ‘dollar fare’ that it has been taking with foreigners on domestic flights. Two years after the adjustment of airfares inaccessible areas, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is about to remove the dollar fare by charging maximum fares paid by Nepalese to foreigners.
In a study committee consisting of CAAN officials, it was suggested that the dollar fare be eliminated and take a maximum from Nepalese. With the abolition of the dollar fare, by changing the existing rate of fare, it has been suggested to add some more fare charges. However, the officials involved declined to comment.
As soon as the tourism minister was appointed, Yogesh Bhattarai had been saying that the dollar fare would be abolished. Many ambassadors who have been complaining about the high cost of airfares to foreigners in Nepal had also drawn the attention of Tourism Minister Bhattarai.
Minister Bhattarai had repeatedly urged the airline operators to remove the dollar fare and take the same fare as the Nepalese, but no result was forthcoming. It is said that the report of the committee will be implemented after it is passed by the steering committee and passed by the ministerial level.
Giving an example that Nepalese have to pay separate airfare when going abroad, Bhattarai had been warning the businessmen to intervene if they do not adjust the fare. At that time, the airline operators had warned to close the business if the dollar fare will get reduced.
Managing Director of Buddha Air, Birendra Bahadur Basnet, had warned Minister Bhattarai at a program that if the dollar fare gets remove, The Government should have to take care of their business. The ministry has been silent for some time after warnings from businessmen, has resumed with the process of adjusting fares.
There is no participation of the private sector in the committee as there is disagreement on the issue of dollar fare. Although not represented by the private sector, the committee comprising officials of CAAN and the ministry has adjusted the rent and submitted it to CAAN Director General Rajan Pokharel.
The government has adjusted the airfare for the trunk route in 2018/2019AD (BS 2075) but has not adjusted the airfare in remote areas since 2009/2010 AD (BS 2067 ).
According to the National Aviation Policy, 2020 AD (BS 2076), the fare should be adjusted every 2 years. When the government increases/decreases the fuel tariff, the airlines also increase/decrease the airfare based on the fuel tariff.
Adjustments to airfare are based on costs other than fuel and equipment costs. As per the current airfare the maximum fare for a mountain flight to Nepalis is 10,090 rupees and the fare to Dhangadhi, the farthest destination from Kathmandu, is 11,345 rupees.