Nepal Airlines gets permission for Guangzhou flights

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has received go-ahead from China Civil Aviation Administration (CAAA) to operate scheduled flights to Guangzhou.

 

An Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in this file photo. (Photo: www.eTravelPress.com)

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has received go-ahead from China Civil Aviation Administration (CAAA) to operate scheduled flights to Guangzhou.

According to officials of the national flag carrier, the Chinese aviation regulator approved Nepal’s request to operate flight to Guangzhou after studying necessary documents sbumitted by the airline and also due to diploamtic efforts made by Nepal.

Earlier, CAAA had said that it would allow NAC to operate flights in China only after conducting its safety audit. But the Chinese aviation regulator decided to allow Nepal to fly into Chinese skies without conducting any such audits.

NAC officials say that they would announce flight schedule only after completing other preparations like appointment of GSA and marketing of the destination, among others.

Guangzhou is the third busiest airport in China in terms of aircraft movement. In 2018, it handled 69.7 million passengers and 1.89 billion tons of cargo. Of late it is emerging as a hub for passengers heading to the US and Australia, among others.

Nepal Airlines will have to compete with China Southern for cargo and passengers in Kathmandu-Guangzhou sector. The Chinese carrier is flying two times a day to Kathmandu form Guangzhou.

Nepal and China revised Air Service Agreement earlier in July. As per the agreement, Nepali carriers can operate 98 flights per week to any Chinese airport.

Another Nepali carrier, Himalaya Airlines, has been operating scheduled flights to Beijing.

 

 

Tourism minister, six others dead in chopper crash

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and six others died in a helicopter crash in eastern Nepal on Wednesday afternoon.

Crash site.
Photo Courtesy: Annapurna Post

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and six others died in a helicopter crash in eastern Nepal on Wednesday afternoon.

The ill-fated chopper of Air Dynasty crashed in a hill near Pathibhara Temple in Taplejung district, according to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Bad weather is being seen as the cause behind the deadly accident.

Other passengers on board the helicopter were Mr Yubaraj Dahal, personal aide to the Prime Minister of Nepal, Birendra Prasad Shrestha, deputy director general of CAAN, Dhruba Bhochhibhaya, an engineer of CAAN; Ang Tshering Sherpa, managing director of Yeti Airlines and director of Thamserku Trekking; Mr Arjun Ghimire, PSO of the tourism minister, and Pilot Prabhakar KC.

The team was returning to Kathmandu after scouting a possible location for building a STOL airfield in Terathum district.

Minister Adhikari was a young and dynamic leader. The tourism industry had high hopes from Minister Adhikari as the country is preparing to celebrate Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign. Similarly, Sherpa was a successful tourism entrepreneur having businesses in travel, hospitality and aviation sector. Shrestha and Bhochhibhaya were senior officers of CAAN – the aviation regulator.

According to security agencies, only the body of Minister Adhikari and his PSO Adhikari are recognizable. Other bodies are charred. Helicopters have reached the crash site to bring the bodies back.

PAC forms sub-committee to look into wide-body procurement

The Public Accounts Committee of (PAC) has formed a sub-committee under the leadership of Nepali Congress lawmaker Rajan KC to probe alleged irregularities in the purchase of two wide-body aircraft by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).

File photo of Airbus A330-200 series aircraft of Nepali Airlines Corporation.

The Public Accounts Committee of (PAC) has formed a sub-committee under the leadership of Nepali Congress lawmaker Rajan KC to probe alleged irregularities in the purchase of two wide-body aircraft by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).

The committee has been asked to submit its repor within 15 days.

Lawmakers Prem Ale, Dharmasheela Chapagain, Meena Subba, Chanda Chaudhary, Pradeep Yadav and Krishna Lal Maharjan are the members of the sub-committee.

The PAC formed the sub-committee based on a monitoring report prepared by the Public Procurement Monitoring Office (PPMO), after studying the all documents related to procurement of the aircraft.

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) purchased the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft from US consortium AAR Corp. It took delivery of the first A330-200 on June 28, while the second aircraft joined its fleet a month later.

In its report, PPMO has concluded that Public Procurement Act was overlooked while procuring the aircraft. It also notes that the NAC chose to purchase the aircraft without inviting global tender as prescribed in the Public Procurement Act.

NAC had purchased the aircraft by inviting Request for Prposal (RFP) from interested suppliers.

 

Salam Air begins scheduled flights to Kathmandu

Salam Air, a budget carrier from the Sultanate of Oman, started scheduled flights on Muscat-Kathmandu-Muscat from Tuesday.

Salam Air

File photo of Airbus A320 aircraft operated by Salam Air.

Salam Air, a budget carrier from the Sultanate of Oman, started scheduled flights on Muscat-Kathmandu-Muscat from Tuesday.

The maiden flight of the carrier landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu at 8 am on Tuesday. The airline will conduct four flights a week on the sector.

The airline has appointed IME Group as its General Sales Agent (GSA) in Nepal.

Speaking at a press meet organized in Kathmandu, Chairman of IME Group Chandra Prasad Dhakal said that he was hopeful that the beginning of Salam Air flights to Nepal will support the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campign.

Dhakal also added that the airline will also bring foreign tourists to Kathmandu.

Established in 2016, the airline operated its first commercial flight in January, 2017. Along with Kathmandu, it operates flights to Jeddah of Saudai Arabia, Khartoum of Sudan, Karachi, Multan and Sialkot of Pakistan, Dubai of UAE, Doha of Qatar, Tbilisi of Georgia, Baku of Azerbaijan, and Dhaka of Bangladesh from its hub in Muscat. It operates a fleet of Airbus 320 aircraft configured to carry 174 passengers.

Similarly, Salam Air CEO Captain Mohamad Ahmed said he was hopeful that the flight will contribute to Nepal’s economy.

Salam Air is the second Omani carrier, linking Kathmandu with Muscat.

 

Nepal prepares to sign ASA with Australia

The government is planning to sign Air Service Agreement (ASA) with Australia and revise existing ASAs with Unite Arab Emirates and Thailand as it gears up to improve connectivity ahead of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

The government is planning to sign Air Service Agreement (ASA) with Australia and revise existing ASAs with Unite Arab Emirates and Thailand as it gears up to improve connectivity ahead of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

According to tourism ministry officials, the two countries have agreed in principle to operate seven weekly flights. Discussions are also being made for allowing Nepali airlines to fly to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

A tourism ministry source say discussions are also going on about including provisions like fifth freedom, unrestricted cargo an code-sharing, among others, in the agreement.

Fifth freedom right allows airlines to put down and take on passengers coming from or flying to a third state. For example, Druk Air of Bhutan coming from Paro can pick up passengers from Kathmandu Airport and fly them to New Delhi and vice versa.

The ASA will pave the way for Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to fly to Australian destinations. It plans to operate A330-200 to Australia.Meanwhile, Nepal is holding talks to revise its ASA with UAE. Nepal is hoping to raise flights between the two countreis from 28 flights per week. Nepal and UAE first signed the ASA in 1999.

Similarly, the ministry is working to revise ASA with Thailand.

Earlier on June 18, Nepal revised its ASA with Japan. The revised ASA allows Nepali airlines to operate 14 flights a week to Japan. The agreement also allows Nepali airlines to operate flights to all major airports of Japan, except Haneda which is the main airport serving Tokyo. Japan has also given fifth freedom right to Nepali carriers.

Npal has signed ASAs with 38 countries so far.