Etihad to come to Nepal

Kathmandu, July 4:

Here comes yet another good news following the signing of the historic bilateral labour pact between Nepal and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday.

The national carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways (EA) is now all set to connect Kathmandu and the commercial hub of Middle East, Dubai by the end of October this year.

Wrapping up his three-day long visit to Nepal, Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, labour minister of UAE, said, “If everything goes as per the plan, EA will begin flying between Kathmandu and Dubai from October 28.”

He also said that his country is keen on expanding ties with Nepal on trade, tourism and investment, besides importing migrant workers. Dr Al Kaabi also informed that UAE would set up a liaison office in Kathmandu soon to facilitate labour traffic and recruitment operations. A senior official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) also confirmed that the Nepal government has already given its nod for EA to begin operations in the Kathmandu-Dubai sector.

“Flight schedules and other operational plans submitted by EA is under consideration by CAAN,” he said. According to him, the civil aviation regulator has asked the national carrier of UAE to submit other details including its GSA, flight times, frequency and other operational issues.

Based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, Etihad Airways began its operations from November 2003 and currently flies to over 43 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, North America and Oceania.

Within roughly four years of operations, EA has a fleet size of 27 aircrafts (both Boeings and Airbus) and has recently placed orders for an additional 24 aircraft, including four A380s. The airlines plans to touch 70 international destinations by 2010, according to the official website of EA.

Once EA begins the new operations, there will be four airlines originating from the Gulf countries flying to Nepal. These include Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Air Arabia. Besides, Nepal Airlines Corporation also has direct flights to Dubai.

Earlier, Ramesh Lekhak, minister of state for labour and transport management informed that the bilateral labour agreement would be valid for four years and will be automatically renewed afterwards.

Nepal and the UAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday, paving the way for secured employment opportunities and providing legal recognition to Nepali migrant workers in UAE. The first bilateral labour pact signed by Nepal not only guarantees legal rights to its workers but also ensures equal facilities for migrant workers as per the rules of the source and host country.

There are more than 600,000 Nepalis working in the Gulf countries. There are about 150,000 Nepali workers in UAE alone.