The flag carrier of the Himalayan country, Nepal Airlines Corporation, has urged the civil aviation authority to reverse its unilateral decision to reduce the number of flights on the lucrative Kathmandu-Delhi sector from 14 to 10 per week for failing to make use of the recently opened Gautam Buddha International Airport. In a statement released on Tuesday, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) lamented that the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had reduced the number of flights from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal’s first international airport, to Delhi, resulting in a loss of revenue and the additional expense of rerouting passengers.
The authority reduced the number of flights to Delhi from TIA to 10 from 14 per week from October 30. The Gautam Buddha International Airport is 300km west of Kathmandu, the country’s capital. The reduction of four flights per week during the peak season has caused a weekly loss of around Rs 90.5 million to the national flag carrier, The Himalayan Times newspaper reported, quoting an NAC official.
“We’d been operating two Kathmandu-Delhi flights per day at near full occupancy, which was one of the major income sources for NAC,” the official said. According to the report, the official termed the aviation authority’s move to reduce NAC’s historical slots in the Kathmandu-Delhi sector as a ‘forceful and unilateral decision’.
In a bid to reduce air traffic at the TIA and for effective utilisation of the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), the second international airport of Nepal, the CAAN reduced the number of Nepal Airlines’ flights in the Kathmandu-Delhi sector to 10 per week from 14 earlier since October 30.
CAAN’s Information Officer Gyanendra Bhul, however, said that the authority was compelled to reduce NAC’s flights to Delhi as the corporation was dilly-dallying in operating the flights from GBIA, the report said. “We are asking the CAAN for permission to operate four additional flights for connecting Delhi,” said Archana Khadka, spokesperson of Nepal Airlines.
The flights in the Kathmandu-Delhi sector are important for Nepalis seeking medical treatment and students going for higher studies in India, as well as business promotion and connection to third countries; she pointed out. As per schedule, Nepal Airlines will fly four flights per week from Kathmandu to Delhi and from Delhi to Kathmandu via the Gautam Buddha International Airport, she added.
With inputs from PTI