September 8: The government is preparing to sign air service agreements with four countries including Finland, Inonesia, Russia and Australia.
So far, Nepal has signed air service agreement with 39 countries.
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation informed that Finland itself approached Nepal for the air service agreement while Nepal took the initiative for the agreements with other three countries.
Among the four countries, Russia is a familiar destination for Nepal as the two countries had signed air service agreement a long time ago. However, the service has been discontinued. The other three countries are new flight destinations for Nepal.
Cambodia is the latest country with which Nepal had signed air service agreement. The government had signed air service agreement with Cambodia in November 30, 2018. As per the agreement, Nepali airlines can operate 14 flights a week to Cambodia. However, this agreement has not been implemented so far.
Cambodia is not in the priority list of Nepal Airlines Corporation. However, government authorities believe that the agreement would facilitate Buddhist pilgrims once the Gautam Buddha International Airport comes into operation.
Nepal had also renewed air service agreements with Thailand and Japan in November last year.
Likewise, Nepal also reviewed air service agreement with China recently on July 26. During the bilateral meeting in Beijing, the two countries had agreed to increase the number of flights from 70 to 98 per week.
Joint secretary at the ministry Suresh Acharya says Nepal is yet to sign agreement for air service with only Indonesia in the ASEAN region. He said that the agreement with Indonesia will make it easy for Nepal to operate flights to Australia from the same route.
“At present, 50,000 Nepalis visit Indonesia annually while 15,000 Indonesians tourists fly to Nepal. That is the reason why we initiated the process to sign air service agreement with Indonesia,” he said.
Although Nepal has signed air service agreements with more than three dozen countries, Nepal is yet to get the permission to operate flights to all of those destinations.