Kathmandu, May 10
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has directed Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to increase the number of its daily flights to India.
The national flag carrier is currently conducting two regular flights daily to India that includes Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. However, NAC has been directed to conduct at least three daily flights to India as soon as possible, informed Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the ministry.
Implementation of this direction means that NAC will have to conduct at least 21 flights to India per week from the current 14 flights a week.
Officials at MoCTCA said that increasing the number of flights to India will not only boost Nepal Airlines’ presence in the international market but will also help raise the inflow of foreign tourists in Nepal ahead of Visit Nepal 2020 tourism campaign.
As one of the major targets of the tourism campaign is to draw two million annual tourists in 2020 and thereafter, the government is under pressure to materialise its target.
Along with increasing Nepal’s air-connectivity, Acharya informed that the government is also branding Nepal and tourism products available here in international market through different mechanisms.
Meanwhile, Acharya informed that the government has also urged various international airline companies flying to Nepal to reduce their airfare to Kathmandu and help Nepal in making Visit Nepal 2020 a successful tourism campaign.
While Nepal Airlines has not been able to expand its international connectivity, high airfare levied by other international airlines flying to Kathmandu has remained a major setback to the flow of foreign tourists in Nepal and has also been affecting the growth of the tourism industry.
Though NAC last year purchased two wide-body aircraft with an objective to start flying to new destinations including Japan, the corporation has not been able to expand its international connectivity accordingly.
Even as the operation of the wide-body aircraft was expected to raise the income of NAC and convert the corporation to a financially sustained entity, failure to fly these widebody aircraft to new destinations has instead weakened NAC’s financial health.
Meanwhile, Nabaraj Koirala, deputy spokesperson for NAC, said Nepal Airlines has started the process to increase the number of flights to India following the direction from MoCTCA. “Owing to limited number of aircraft with NAC, the corporation will find it difficult to conduct three daily flights to India immediately.
However, things are being discussed to implement the government’s direction,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on May 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.