March 22: Airline operators of Nepal have agreed to review the fare of domestic flights following severe criticism from all quarters for the sudden hike in prices of air tickets amid coronavirus outbreak in the world.
After receiving a number of complaints, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai had held a meeting with airline operators of the country on Saturday (March 21).
During the meeting, the domestic air service providers agreed to review the air fare.
The domestic airline companies had reduced the air fare some days ago due to lack of foreign passengers due to the fear of coronavirus. But the airline companies all of a sudden increased the fare after the government imposed a ban on long-route vehicles effective from March 22.
The government has taken a number of measures including closure of educational institutions, restaurants and bars among others for at least two weeks in an effort to contain the possible spread of the deadly virus. This does not bar essential service providers from operating their business. Essential service includes food supply, security, health, water and sanitation as well as air service, with exception of arrivals from coronavirus-affected countries and long-route vehicles within the country.
Considering the current crisis, Minister Bhattarai had urged the airline operators not to charge maximum amount to the air passengers. Responding to the request of the minister, the airline operators made commitment to review the air fare. However, they have not yet agreed on how much the air fare will be reduced. A separate meeting of the Airline Operators Association of Nepal is taking place on Sunday (March 22) to fix the rate.
Spokesperson of AOAN Yograj Bhattarai said that they have reached an understanding with the government to reduce the air fare. But he added that they are yet to decide on how much amount shall be reduced.