August 4: International and domestic airline companies have started gearing up to resume their service after the government decided to lift the ban of air service from August 17.
As of Monday (August 3), 12 airline companies including two from Nepal have presented their proposals to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) for international flights. Similarly, all domestic airline companies have also presented their proposals to the aviation regulatory body of Nepal to resume their business.
Commercial flights have been halted since the last five months due to coronavirus pandemic. The government has allowed only emergency flights for rescue operations and medical cargo since imposing lockdown on March 24.
Nepal Airlines Corporation – the flag carrier of Nepal - and Himalaya Airlines have showed their interest to resume international flights after the government lifts the restriction from August 17. Other companies willing to restart commercial flights include Indigo Air of India, Air China and China Southern of China, Salam Air of Oman, Jazeera Air of Kuwait, Fly Dubai of the UAE, Malaysian Airlines and Malindo Air of Malaysia, Air Arabia of Saudi Arabia, and Turkish Airlines.
According to CAAN, these companies have proposed holding 158 flights per week.
“This figure is expected to rise,” said the source.
The state-owned NAC has proposed conducting 57 flights per week while Turkish Airlines, Air China and China Southern have proposed organising only 1 flight each.
CAAN informed New Business Age that it is yet to decide how much flights will the interested airlines companies will be allowed to conduct. Informed sources said that CAAN is preparing to allow only 25 to 30 percent of flights compared to the pre-lockdown period.
The airline operators must adhere to the protocols set by the World Health Organisation and the ICA0.
“We are yet to decide on the frequency of flights and the destinations due to a surge in number of coronavirus cases again,” said CAAN Spokesperson Raj Kumar Chhetri.