NAC to offer in-flight duty-free service

Kathmandu, December 12

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is preparing to provide in-flight duty-free service to travellers on international flights of Nepal Airlines starting mid-March.

With an aim to facilitate international travellers using NAC’s flights with comparatively cheaper duty-free products, NAC on Monday invited request for proposal (RfP) from interested in-flight duty-free service providers for the execution of in-flight duty-free sales in Nepal Airlines’ international flights.

Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC, informed that in-flight duty-free service is being planned in all international flights of Nepal Airlines to make the national flag carrier more competitive among the airline companies.

“Many foreign airline companies operating in Nepal are already offering such service. Duty-free service in every international flight of Nepal Airlines will directly benefit travellers using the national flag carrier,” said Kansakar.

According to him, NAC has been consulting with related government agencies, including Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Department of Customs and Ministry of Finance, on starting the in-flight duty-free service in international flights of Nepal Airlines.

Initially, NAC plans to offer products like branded perfumes, jewellery, wristwatches and other portable products to travellers at duty-free rate. NAC officials opined that travellers taking international flights of Nepal Airlines will be attracted towards duty-free products especially because there are no government-operated duty-free shops at the TIA at present.

In 2008, former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai-led government had closed the duty-free shop at TIA operated by National Trading Ltd (NTL).

NAC also expects that providing duty-free service in its international flights will increase NAC’s revenue as the service provider will have to pay certain commission to NAC on providing the service.

As per RfP published by NAC, the service provider should be a reputed duty-free and travel retailing company registered in South Asia, Asia Pacific or Middle East region and in operation for more than 10 years. The service provider should currently be actively managing at least 10 airlines, including at least two flag carriers and catering to at least five million passengers annually. The service provider should also currently be actively managing at least two airlines in the region surrounding Nepal.

The RfA has only targeted foreign firms as there are no duty-free and travel retailing companies in Nepal.