Airline operators seek permit to fly to Lukla from Kathmandu this season


Kathmandu, December 9

The Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) has requested Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai to allow them to operate flights to Lukla directly from Kathmandu until the maintenance works at the Manthali airport are completed.

During a meeting held today at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), representatives from AOAN sought permission from the ministry to fly to Lukla from Kathmandu as the Manthali airport in Ramechhap district is being upgraded at present.

As per AOAN, tourists have been facing problems due to lack of facilities at Manthali airport. Until the government finishes upgrading the Manthali airport’s capacity, flights to Lukla should be operated from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), AOAN said. Likewise, the association has requested the minister to take the initiative to enhance road connectivity from Kathmandu to Ramechhap for the convenience of road travellers.

As the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has announced about operating regular flights to Lukla from Manthali, the maintenance of the airport is under way at the moment.

Likewise, AOAN has also requested the tourism minister to introduce a policy allowing them to operate flights in restricted areas.

“There are some restricted areas in the country where helicopters are not allowed to fly. So, considering the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign, we have requested MoCTCA to allow choppers to go to those restricted areas at least during VNY 2020 campaign,” said Captain Rameshwor Thapa, president of AOAN.

Thapa further expressed his positive response towards the recommendations submitted to MoCTCA regarding airfare discounts for elderly passengers and other suggestions regarding airfare issues in the domestic aviation sector. “We will work together with the government and further discussions will be held to sort out the airfare issues,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry formed a committee today during the meeting to study the prospect of providing discounts to international VIPs and celebrities for VNY 2020.

The committee comprises representatives from VNY 2020 secretariat, Nepal Tourism Board and AOAN.

A version of this article appears in print on December 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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