Fifth phase of repatriation flights halted after first day itself until further notice

Kathmandu, August 17

The fifth phase of repatriation flights which began from today has been halted until further notice. The government had started the fifth phase of repatriation from today with an aim to repatriate Nepali workers stranded in Gulf countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, all the scheduled flights will be halted from Tuesday. Issuing a notice today, the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) has directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCT- CA) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to halt previously scheduled flights and not to issue any permission for further flights until proper quarantine facilities are managed.

“Local governments have been sealing highly risky areas in the country and till date CCMC has not received any guarantee of quarantine arrangements. In such a situation no more repatriation flight operations will be permitted,” reads the notice issued by CCMC, adding that repatriation flights will be halted until the stakeholders arrange hotel quarantine facilities and submit proper details of the quarantine measures that have been taken.

Along with this airline companies also have issued a notice mentioning of the flight cancellations that had been scheduled for the fifth phase of repatriation.

Meanwhile, as per Tribhuvan International Airpot (TIA), 153 passengers from Malaysia were repatriated via a flight conducted by Himalaya Airlines on the first day of the fifth repatriation process. As the number of COVID-19 cases is rising and the date for resumption of regular flights has also been postponed the government has decided to bring 500 passengers per day.

A total of 43 flights had been scheduled starting from today till August 31 for the evacuation process. The government had expected around 7,000 passengers to return home.

Amid this, five domestic flights were conducted today.

As per TIA, Tara Air departed for Lukla while Manang Air flew to Solukhumbu and Bhojpur from Kathmandu. Prabhu Heli conducted a flight to Makawanpur while Kailash Heli departed for Dhading from Kathmandu today.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.