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.