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.

NAC takes delivery of 1st of two Airbus A330-200

The first of the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft ordered by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The Airbus A330-200 aircraft sits on the tarmac of Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. (All photos: Achyut Puri)

The first of the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft ordered by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The wide-body aircraft, named Annapunra — or the goddess of bounty in Nepali — was given a customary water cannon salute at the TIA.

The second Airbus A330-200 aircraft is expected to join the NAC’s flee next month.

Both the aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and feature a two-class cabin configuration that will seat a total of 274 passengers — 18 in business class and 256 in economy class.

NAC has already signed Total Care Contract with Rolls-Royce for overall maintenance of the wide-body jets.

Both the aircraft were initially ordered by Hi Fly — a Portugese aircraft leasing company. NAC purchased the aircraft through US-based company AAR Corp.

NAC has alreay said that Dubai will be the maien

NAC has borrowed Rs24 billion from the Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to buy the jets.

This is the first time that a wide-body jet has been inducted in the fleet of a Nepali carrier. Two years ago NAC acquired two Airbus A320-200 series aircraft. It has already got approval from the board to induct two Airbus A320neo aircraft for short-haul flights.

NAC operates a fleet of two Airbus A320-200 and an ageing Boeing 757 aircraft for international flights. It plans to sell the Boeign after inucting two A320neo aircraft.

Thai Lion Air gets permission to fly to Kathmandu

Thai Lion Air — a low cost airline — has received permission to operate scheduled flight on Bangkok-Kathmandu-Bangkok sector. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) took the decision to this effect last Monday. The carrier will fly to Kathmandu from Don Mueang International Airport — one of the two international airports in […]

etravaelpressThai Lion Air — a low cost airline — has received permission to operate scheduled flight on Bangkok-Kathmandu-Bangkok sector.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) took the decision to this effect last Monday.

The carrier will fly to Kathmandu from Don Mueang International Airport — one of the two international airports in Bangkok. According to tourism ministry officials, the budget carrier has received permission to fly to Kathmandu seven times a week.

Thai Lion Air is an associate of Indonesia-based Lion Air. It operates a fleet of 32 aircraft — three Airbus A330-300, 11 Boeing 737-800, 17 Boeing 737-900 ER and one Boeing 737 Max 9. It has placed order for six Boeing 737-800 and eight Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.

Thai Lion Air will be the third airlines to link Bangkok with Kathmandu after Nepal Airlines Corporation and Thai Airways.

Lion Thai Air plans to start flying to Nepal from next month. However, it is yet to get slot from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

Meanwhile, Oman-based Salam Air has also applied for permission to operate flights between Muscat and Kathmandu. Tourism ministry officials say no decision has been taken on Salam Air’s application yet.

 

Tourism ministry forms ‘think tank’ to improve aviation sector

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a ‘think tank’ and asked it to suggest measures for bringing about improvement in country’s civil aviation sector.

etravelpressThe Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a ‘think tank’ and asked it to suggest measures for bringing about improvement in country’s civil aviation sector.

Issuing a press statement on Tuesday, the ministry said that the think tank will identify existing challenges in Nepal’s aviation sector and suggest measures deal with them.

The think tank is chaired by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Addhikari.

Tourism ministry officials said that the think tank was formed with an objective to utilize the expertise of different people having experience and expertise in the civil aviation sector for improving the entire aviation sector.

Lalit Bikram Shah, former regional director of ICAO; former secretaries Birendra Bahadur Deuja, Nagendra Prasad Ghimire and Yagya Prasad Gautam; aviation experts Hari Bhakta Shrestha, Trichandra Manandhar, Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, Kamal Prasad Rimal; Captain PJ Shah; civil engineer Kamal Kumar KC; and experts Mahendra Singh Rawal, Uday Shrestha, Yubaraj Kumar Bhattarai, Narayan Bahadur Singh Dangol, Libindra Man Shakya, Suman Kumar Shrestha, Mahendra Raj Bhandari, Prabhakar Adhikari, Prabha Baidya and Hemanta Aryal are in the think tank.

The think tank is also expected to facilitate the government in implementation of programs included in the 100-day action plan of the tourism ministry.

Among others, the action plan envisages operating Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for at least 21 hours a day, address air traffic congestion at TIA, procuring high-tech rescue equipment, enhance capacity of air traffic control unit at TIA and make TIA’s slot management works more scientific.

 

Govt setting up independent agency to probe air accidents

The government is setting up an independent aircraft accident investigation agency as part of its preparation to meet international obligations for improving aviation safety and preventing accidents in the future.

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Crash site of Sita Air’s Dornier aircraft in Bhaktapur district.
Pic: BBC Files

The government is setting up an independent aircraft accident investigation agency as part of its preparation to meet international obligations for improving aviation safety and preventing accidents in the future.

According to officials of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the agency will probe aircraft accidents and recommend measures to prevent such accidents in the future. It will also help improve the quality of aviation service in the country by identifying factors causing air accidents in Nepal.

The tourism ministry had recently formed a committee to study the matter and provide its report to the government. It has also said that the government can collect service charge from airlines, airports and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), among others, to arrange financial resources for the to-be-formed body. The agency will have a pool of experts who will act as investigators.

Currently, aircraft accidents are investigated by an ad hoc investigation committee that the tourism ministry forms as soon as the accidents occur. Such committees are formed as per the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accident) Regulations 2014

Air safety manual of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires each member state to establish an independent organization to conduct investigations into aircraft accidents and incidents that come within the jurisdiction of the state.

Earlier in July, ICAO removed Nepal from the list of Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) after it achieved 66 percent compliance rate – above the global standard of 60 percent.