Serving remote areas
Senior Captain Vijay Lama, instructor pilot, NAC
Despite a big crisis in the country, aviation issues cannot be negated as economic development and lives of people in remote areas are directly linked with it.
With the restoration of democracy in 1990, the aviation sector boomed due to the ‘Open Sky Policy’.
Since most hilly districts in Nepal are only accessible by air transportation, dependency on air support in these areas is high.
Many airlines came, earned and went away but people in these remote areas could not benefit from them owing to government’s failure to compel them to serve poor people at 40:60
ratio as stipulated in the operators’ prerequisites. Especially during tourist seasons, non-profit sectors suffer since all airlines concentrate their flights to Lukla and other dollar-earning sectors only.
The government thus must set laws to ensure that people in hilly areas are not deprived of proper traveling facilities. In this regard, national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) alone cannot fulfill the requirement. It has more responsibilities and it is trying to fulfill that.
One cannot blame private operators only because they have to earn during tourist
seasons to survive in a cutthroat market. It is the responsibility of the government to find an alternative to that.
That alternative is to make NAC stronger, more efficient and more independent without political interferences like in the past. NAC is people’s airline and it is everyone’s responsibility to save it and let people in hilly areas get the facility, as only NAC flies to these areas.