Nepal Airlines Corporation, the Himalayan nation’s flag carrier, has urged the civil aviation authority to drop its unilateral decision to cut the number of flights on the lucrative Kathmandu-Delhi sector from 14 to 10 per week for not using the newly opened Gautam Buddha International Airport .
In a statement on Tuesday, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) said that its income has been sliced and it is having to bear the additional cost of rerouting passengers after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) slashed the number of flights to Delhi from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal’s first international airport here.
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 official NAC. “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.
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’, according to the report.
In a bid to reduce air traffic at the TIA and for effective utilization 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.