Nepal | September 22, 2020

August 17 resumption of domestic flights in doubt

‘It will be foolish to resume flights if COVID cases keep rising and public do not want to travel’

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
Share Now:

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 4

The initial excitement among domestic airline operators over resumption of flights after nearly a five-month hiatus has begun to dampen.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising, especially in areas bordering India which are among the busiest routes of domestic flight operators, it has only added to their anxiety as the resumption date of August 17 nears.

“All the airline companies are ready to operate flights in almost all sectors from the given date. However, the number of COVID-positive cases along the border areas has been increasing each day. These routes might be affected even after flights resume,” said Prajol Thapa, chief of the Marketing and Sales Department of Simrik Airlines.

He added that Birgunj, Simara, Biratnagar, Janakpur and Bhairahawa were COVID hotspots, while Pokhara and Bharatpur were considered safe zones. “Earlier, we had planned to operate flights in all sectors following safety protocols, but the increasing number of COVID cases has forced us to reconsider, particularly the destinations that pose high risk of COVID transmission,” he added.

According to Thapa, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has decided to allow operation of only 33 per cent flights in the initial phase. “On the basis of this direction, all airline companies have submitted their flight operation applications to CAAN,” he said.

Anil Manandhar, corporate head of Shree Airlines, said airline operators would give topmost priority to public health.

“We are ready to operate flights, but it will be foolish to resume flights if COVID cases continue to rise and the public do not want to travel,” he said.

Stating that flights will remain suspended if the lockdown is imposed again, he added, “Even if the government allows flight operations, we will schedule our operations assessing the situation at the respective destinations.”

Shree Airlines is preparing to resume flights to destinations other than Janakpur and Simara in the initial phase.

Earlier, CAAN had announced it would allow 39 flights on the busiest routes and 48 flights on STOL (short take-off and landing) routes. On the basis of that, airline operators were planning their flights. Some have even published their schedules.

However, the increasing risk of COV- ID-19 has put them in a dilemma whether or not to resume flights on August 17.

“The recent situation has created a bit of confusion on flight resumption.

However, we are ready to operate flights if the government permits,” said Anoj Rijal, CEO of Yeti Airlines.

He expressed confidence that the flights could be operated following safety measures.

According to him, Yeti Airlines is planning to operate 11 flights per week in the initial phase of flight resumption.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 5, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

In Pictures: Lalitpur school provides internet facility to students sans access

Lalitpur, September 21 Teachers take online classes with internet facility provided by school at the empty classroom of Shree Rudrayanee Secondary School in Khokana, Lalitpur on Monday, September 21, 2020. The School has facilitated internet access to those students who cannot avail the same at h Read More...

Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap to pursue legal route against sexual misconduct allegations, actress Payal Ghosh to file FIR

KATHMANDU: Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by budding actress Payal Ghosh, said he intends to pursue legal action while the actress has said she will file an FIR against him. Issuing a statement through his lawyer, Kashyap also said it was sad that a Read More...

Indian actress Richa Chadha initiates legal action after Payal Ghosh drags her name in #MeToo case against Anurag Kashyap

KATHMANDU: Bollywood actress Richa Chadha has revealed that she has initiated legal action against after her name was dragged in a defamatory in #MeToo case against filmmaker Anurag Kashyap by actress Payal Ghosh. In a video released to ABN Telugu, Ghosh claimed that Kashyap tried to harass her i Read More...

American actress Mindy Kaling finds Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor talented, wants to work with them

KATHMANDU: Indian origin American actress Mindy Kaling wants to work with Bollywood actresses Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor as she finds them talented. "I would love to work with Sonam Kapoor or Deepika Padukone. They're both so talented," Mindy was quoted as saying Read More...

Manchester City _Ilkay Gundogan

Man City's Gundogan tests positive for COVID-19

LONDON: Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Monday, making him the third player in the squad to return a positive test in recent weeks. City winger Riyad Mahrez and defender Aymeric Laporte previously tested positive for the Read More...

Djokovic to face Schwartzman in Italian Open final

ROME: Novak Djokovic was made to work hard by Casper Ruud in blustery conditions before the world number one got past the unseeded Norwegian 7-5 6-3 on Sunday to reach the Italian Open final. The Serbian had to save two set points in the first set before finding his groove to reach his 10th title Read More...

Leicester go top, Liverpool claim second win as goals fly in

LONDON: Champions Liverpool and Leicester City maintained their winning starts to the Premier League on Sunday as the second weekend of the new season produced a goal-rush. Sadio Mane scored twice just after the break to give Liverpool a 2-0 victory at Chelsea who played half the game with 10 men Read More...

Manchester City off to winning start with victory at Wolves

WOLVERHAMPTON: Manchester City got their Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers thanks to first-half goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden plus a late Gabriel Jesus strike on Monday. The result means there has not been a single drawn ma Read More...