Resuming operation with 50pc occupancy infeasible: AOAN


Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) has objected to the government’s proposal of resuming domestic flights with only 50 per cent occupancy.

As the government had announced earlier that domestic flights would be resumed from September 21, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had held a meeting with airline operators today. The meeting led by Tourism Secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari had proposed the airline operators to operate flights with no more than 50 per cent occupancy and hike up the airfare a bit.

However, issuing a press statement after the meeting, AOAN has said that operating domestic flights with just 50 per cent occupancy is infeasible. “Even the neighbouring country India has not implemented such rules and is allowing flight operations simply by strictly following health the safety protocols.

Thus, it is not reasonable to carry 50 per cent passengers only,” reads the statement.

The statement has further explained that the move of reducing the occupancy and increasing the airfare is going to affect the passengers. The passengers, already in dilemma over air travel due to the pandemic, will be further dissuaded to fly if the airfare is raised. Moreover, most passengers will not be able to afford the hiked fare, the statement adds.

The association has also claimed that since air travel will be safe and secure, there is no need of limiting the number of passengers.

“The airline operators are already facing a huge loss during this pandemic and reducing the passenger numbers will add more burden on the operators.

Hence, we request the government to withdraw this decision,” the statement says.

A meeting held on Tuesday at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) decided to allow domestic airline operators to fly to all destinations across the country.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 17, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.