Nepal | September 27, 2020

Aviation ministry preparing protocols to resume international flights

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As the government has announced all domestic and international flights will be resumed from August 17, all the concerned authorities are busy preparing protocols on how to manage the flights and passengers during this pandemic.

Spokesperson for Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Kamal Prasad Bhattarai said that the government is preparing a first draft of the protocols for flight resumption. “Particularly for passengers travelling after the flight resumption we are preparing safety protocols in three sets — before, during and after the travel,” he said.

As per him, protocols for before the travel would require passengers to ensure that they are COVID-free and have a negative report of PCR. Passengers with fever, common cold and other illnesses will not be allowed for travel. During the flight, the passengers would have to follow safety protocols of the airline companies and maintain distance and keep themselves safe as directed by the crew members.

“At Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the concerned authorities and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) gave prepared their protocols on how to manage passengers and flights,” he said, “However, we are still working on how to manage passengers once they come out of the airport.”

The discussion over managing and monitoring the passengers travelling after flight resumption is going on.

“We are having discussion with the concerned authorities and by next week the protocols will be prepared,” he said, “Whether to send them for home quarantine or the government will manage quarantine for them and how to monitor them are issued that are yet to be decided upon.”

Meanwhile, CAAN has almost completed its preparations for flight resumption.

“We have prepared safety protocols based on which the airports will be operating. And now we are looking into applications from the airline companies for flights,” said Raj Kumar Chhetri, spokesperson for CAAN, adding permission will be granted based on priority.

So far around 12 international airlines have submitted applications.

The airport will be operated based on ‘Guidance to Airlines, Airports and Ground Services for Operations during COVID-19’ prepared by CAAN.

The CAAN is also preparing to reduce the number of flights after the flights resume. As per Chhetri only 25 per cent of regular international flights will be allowed to operate in the initial phase. Further decision will be taken as per need. The flights will be operated focusing on providing services to around 300 passengers per hour, he said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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