Kathmandu, November 29
Nepal and Cambodia have inked the initial air services agreement (ASA) today.
The agreement was signed between Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Mao Havanall, minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of Cambodia.
Though a final agreement to start air services between the two nations will be signed between the civil aviation authorities of both the nations in the near future, the initial agreement has paved the way for holding direct flights between Nepal and Cambodia, informed Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA).
“Related authorities of both the nations will meet soon for the final agreement on ASA,” said Acharya.
With this, Cambodia has become 39th nation that Nepal has signed an ASA with ensuring direct flight links between the two countries for the first time. The draft of the ASA signed between the two nation states that both Nepal and Cambodia will conduct 14 flights each per week. However, the agreement provides unlimited air cargo service between the two countries.
Acharya opined that ASA with Cambodia will open up new prospects for tourism between the two countries. Similarly, direct air linkage is also expected to facilitate the movement of pilgrims from Cambodia, a Buddhist nation, to Lumbini — the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian aviation authority has also expressed its interest to start direct flights to the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, which is expected to begin operation from June.
Aviation authorities of the two nations will finalise the details regarding flight frequency, code sharing, cargo and other issues in the near future before starting commercial flights between the nations.
Nepal had recently revised the ASA with Thailand and increased the number of weekly flights from 10 to 28.
A version of this article appears in print on November 30, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.