Govt prepares to review domestic airfares soon

Kathmandu, January 5

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has started the process to review domestic airfares. Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had earlier informed that domestic airfares would be reviewed before the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign begins. Ministry officials have said that the adjustment in the airfare will be done now.

As per MoCTCA, airfares of the trunk routes will be reviewed first and later airfares of short takeoff and landing (STOL) routes will be reviewed and the adjustment in airfare will be based on the recommendations submitted by a study committee recently.

The government this time will be bringing down airfares and reducing the gap in airfare for Nepalis and foreigners.

“As reducing the airfare across all routes might hit airline companies, we are planning to review the airfares gradually across every route,” informed an official at MoCTCA seeking anonymity.

However, the official informed that the airfares will be reviewed based on the recommendations submitted by a study committee recently.

In the first week of December, a study committee formed by the government had recommended the MoCTCA to implement uniformity in airfares for Nepali and foreign passengers.

The report prepared by the committee that was coordinated by former tourism secretary Suresh Man Shrestha has mentioned that the government has to implement a policy to set airfares based on market demand and supply rather than nationalities.

As of today, airline companies have been charging almost double airfare in domestic routes from foreigners compared to normal airfare for Nepali citizens.

Meanwhile, the government is also preparing to introduce some incentive facilities for airline companies to ensure that they are not hit hard while reducing airfares and narrowing the airfare gap for Nepalis and foreigners.

Earlier, the study report had also mentioned that introducing a policy of setting airfares based on market demand will take time for it to be prepared and implemented. Hence, till the policy is prepared and implemented the average airfare and minimum airfare for foreign tourists in domestic flights can be set in the first phase as a short-term solution.

In the second phase the government has to deregulate different airfares on trunk routes and non-tourist sectors and bring a single airfare policy into implementation.