Cabinet turns down ‘incomplete’ proposal

Kathmandu, March 12

The Legislation Committee of the Cabinet has disapproved the proposal of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to give ‘discount package’ to international airlines operating flights to and from Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA).

As construction of the GBIA is expected to be completed soon, MoCTCA on the recommendation of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had prepared a draft of the discount package for international airline companies operating through the airport in Bhairahawa to lure foreign airlines. The ministry had tabled the proposal at the Cabinet a few months back.

However, an official at MoCTCA, seeking anonymity, informed that the Cabinet has disapproved MoCTCA’s proposal citing that the proposal was not prepared with proper study and lacks financial and other technical aspects of giving discounts to airline companies operating via GBIA.

“The ministry had tabled the proposal to give discount package for airline companies operating through GBIA for the first few initial years. However, the Cabinet committee has sent the proposal back to the ministry asking it to rework on it,” informed the MoCTCA official.

The discount package was prepared by CAAN and was approved by its board. Later, the MoCTCA had also got the package approved from the Ministry of Finance before tabling it at the Cabinet.

However, MoCTCA is expected to retable the proposal at the Cabinet after making a few amendments in the initial draft of the proposal.

Initially, CAAN had envisioned providing one-year discount on airport service charges to the international airline companies operating flights to and from GBIA. The airport service charges include aircraft landing, parking, navigation and security fees at the airport.

Meanwhile, in the second year from the starting date of flight operation, CAAN also planned to give 50 per cent discount on airport service charges for such airline companies.

Similarly, the package plan to offer international companies that are willing to operate flights to and from GBIA also envisioned giving international companies registered in Nepal or planning to register here an incentive package for ground handling services. Similarly, CAAN also planned to give a discount on land rate for five years to airline companies willing to build hangar.

Under CAAN’s plan airline companies that plan to carry out aircraft maintenance and repair service would receive discounts on land rent for five years.

Meanwhile, the operation of GBIA is expected to be deferred as the project construction has been hit owing to supply disruption of construction materials due to coronavirus.

The government had planned to complete the construction of the airport by the end of this month. However, remaining 10 per cent construction works of the airport has been halted due to coronavirus thereby delaying the entire project.