Kathmandu, June 18
The national flag carrier of Finland — Finnair — has made a proposal to Nepal to launch direct flights between Kathmandu and Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. Finnair forwarded its proposal to the government through the Embassy of Finland in Kathmandu.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), the proposal from Finnair was forwarded by the Finnish Embassy in Kathmandu to the government.
“The government of Finland has submitted a proposal at our ministry and we are doing further homework,” said Pramod Nepal, undersecretary at MoCTCA.
As per Nepal, the ministry has forwarded the Finnish proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to collect suggestions and for further procedures.
He further said that the ministry is finalising preparations to sign an agreement between the two governments.
“Once the draft is ready, CAAN and NAC will finalise some of the documentation works and then we will forward it to the Cabinet for its approval,” Nepal said, adding that after the Cabinet approval, the ministry will do the necessary paperwork.
After the Cabinet approves the draft of the proposal, the ministry will forward it to the Finnish government and exchange the statements.
Currently, passengers travelling between Nepal and Europe have been using Istanbul of Turkey or an airport of the Gulf countries or India as a transit. Once Finnair launches flights to Kathmandu, Nepali travellers will be able to fly without any transit to and from Finland.
As per Undersecretary Nepal, if Finnair starts flights to Nepal, the European Union will also be pressurised to delist Nepal from its safety list. At present, Nepali airline companies are banned from the European sky owing to a European Union safety list which has been in place for the last six years.
Meanwhile, the Finnish government is going to head the European Union from next month and Nepali government officials believe that once Finland leads the EU, then the European Union will lift the ban on Nepali airline companies.
“Another positive aspect of Finnair starting flights to Nepal is that more tourists will come from Europe, and it will help to make Visit Nepal Year 2020 programme a success.”
A version of this article appears in print on June 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.