Kathmandu, September 11
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a task force today for the feasibility study of providing discount on airfare to senior citizens.
While unveiling his one-year work plan on August 26, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had announced that 50 per cent discount on airfare would be provided
to passengers above 70 years after holding discussions with the airline operators. Based on that announcement, the ministry has formed a task force comprising eight members.
The ministry has directed the task force to hold discussions with the stakeholders and submit the study report within 30 days. The task force led by Suresh Man Shrestha, former tourism minister, comprises representative members from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Civil Aviation
Authority of Nepal, Nepal Airlines Corporation, one chartered accountant along with the representatives from Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) and MoCTCA itself.
The task force has also been assigned to study the feasibility of uniformity in airfare for local and foreign passengers. Prior to this, AOAN had requested the ministry not to take any such decision without having discussion with the airline operators. They had also said that the uniformity in airfare was infeasible in the Nepali market citing ‘airline operators are surviving by the higher airfare charged on foreigners’.
The task force will also go examine the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price issue. It has been directed by the ministry to recommend whether to reduce ATF price or provide subsidies to international airline operators.
Likewise, the task force has been directed to study the possibility of regional flight operations in the country and propose the initiations that the ministry should take to attract more international airline companies in Nepal. This is especially in consideration of the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa.
A version of this article appears in print on August 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.