21 September 2020, Katthmandu
Domestic airlines in Nepal are all set to resume their flight services starting Monday.
The internal air services have remained suspended since March after the government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. Airline operators had been pressing the government to let them resume their services as the aviation sector incurred a huge financial loss due to the suspension of air services.
Although the government decided to resume the services from September 17, airline operators had deferred their plan to resume domestic air services seeking approval from the government to allow 100 percent occupancy.
Considering the travel history of people during Dashain and Tihar, the government had decided to let domestic airlines resume operations to facilitate the movement of the general public.
According to Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN), domestic airliners are prepared to resume their services following the safety protocols prepared by the government. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has already circulated the health safety protocols to be followed by the airline operators and the airport authorities.
Yog Raj Kandel, spokesperson for AOAN, said 100 percent occupancy should be allowed as the operators will not be able to cover their operation expenses if airplanes fly half empty. “Also it is not a good strategy to increase the airfare to cover the cost as airfare increment is not good for both airlines and passengers,” he said.
Only one-fourth flights as compared to the number of flights operated during the normal time last year will be allowed. “A minimum of 10 to a maximum of 30 flights may be carried out a day,” Kandel added.