Meeting on new air route feasibility kicks off
Kathmandu, June 14
A meeting between officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) has begun here today to outline the possibility of adding new air routes between the two countries.
The two-day meeting between technical officials of the two countries will figure out the feasible new air routes, according to Ghanashyam Upadhya, joint secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA).
The meeting is the outcome of the decisions made by the executive heads of both nations in May during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal to forge a technical study on opening new air entry routes via different points in Nepal.
Dipak Baral, director of Air Traffic Management at CAAN, informed that Nepal has proposed AAI to open up air entry routes from Nepalgunj and Janakpur in the ongoing meeting and discussions are under way regarding the feasibility of these air routes.
Prior to this meeting, Indian authorities, including AAI, had been saying that the air entry route via Nepalgunj may not be feasible as the Indian army has its air defence base camp on the Indian side close to Nepalgunj.
Though Indian authorities are backing the Janakpur air route, CAAN is urging the Indian government to open up both the air routes. CAAN is also requesting for both entry and exit facility through the aforementioned proposed air routes.
Both CAAN and AAI are expected to submit a report on the output of this meeting to their respective governments. The two governments will then take the necessary decisions based on this report.
Currently, the only authorised air entry point to Nepal from the south is through Simara, which is pretty congested.