September 17: Although the government has lifted a ban on domestic flights effective from September 17, private airline companies have said they cannot provide the service with just 50 percent passengers.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday (September 14) decided to allow airline companies to resume domestic flights with just 50 percent passengers.
However, airline companies have said that it is impractical to operate flights with 50 percent passengers.
“First of all there is confusion regarding the date of resuming service. Secondly, if we are to provide service by adopting all necessary safety precautions then it is impractical to fly only 50 percent passengers,” says Manoj Karki, general secretary of Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN).
“It will only raise the air fare by double amount,” added Karki, who is also the managing director of Summit Air.
Karki says resuming air service is a praiseworthy decision but provision of 50 percent seating capacity should be revised. He said that they have submitted a memorandum to the concerned ministry to revise the provision.
AOAN spokesperson Yograj Kandel says it is not possible to provide air service under the terms and conditions set by the government. Therefore, the airline operators have decided not to resume service at the moment.
The government lifted a ban on regular international flights on September 1 after almost 5 months of lockdown. Resuming domestic flights was delayed due to increase in coronavirus cases across the country.
The government was under pressure to resume domestic flights. Although the government lifted a ban on domestic flights, it is still not certain when the flights will resume due to the differences in seating capacity for the flights.