Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 17

Nepal and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on extension of air services between the two countries.

Medini Prasad Sharma, joint secretary at the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation (MoCTCA) and Chalor Kotcharat, director general of the Thai Department of Civil Aviation signed the MoU on behalf of their respective governments yesterday.

As per the agreement, both the Nepali and Thai airlines can fly up to 10 flights per week with any kind of aircraft, up from the existing seven for specified airlines of both countries. Arrangements have been made for additional flights through code sharing for specified airlines, states the MoCTCA.

Under this arrangement, maximum 22 flights can be operated per week with two additional flights per week after running each of the code sharing flights, to be effective from the 11th flight. The agreement also provides for code sharing in proper time by the specified airlines for the purpose of increasing such kinds of flights.

Earlier, the Thai delegation was proposed to cooperate in manpower development in the areas of satellite-based air communications, guidance and surveillance and air traffic management system. Publicity materials and free tickets for journalists and tour operators were also requested for the promotion of tourism through air transport, the ministry states. In response, the Thai delegation urged Nepal to go through diplomatic channel.

During the talks, both the party agreed to revamp existing air traffic arrangement. The new air services agreement draft will be given final shape through correspondence between the concerned authorities, while preliminary signing of the agreement will be held in the next round of talks.

After the signing ceremony, Sharma said that the agreement would bring positive impact in extension of areas of cooperation besides air traffic and tourism promotion between the two countries.

While, Thai delegation leader Kotcharat said the new agreement on Kathmandu-Bangkok flights would greatly contribute in the tourism development of both the countries. He also informed that the Thai Airways is planning to increase flights.

The Thai delegation also met Sarbendra Nath Shukla, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation and Lava Kumar Devkota, secretary at the ministry separately.