Nepal | November 15, 2019

Tourism ministry plans incentives for flights during lean hours

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, September 22

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) is preparing to offer incentives to airline companies operating flights at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) during lean hours.

Based on the one-year work plan of Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai, the ministry is doing homework to offer incentive packages to airline companies operating their flights during the lean hours. Generally, the time between 5pm and 8pm is considered as lean hours at TIA.

TIA sees comparatively less flight movement from 5pm to 8pm while the time between 8pm and 11pm is considered to be peak hours. TIA also sees less aircraft movement after midnight. Hence, the ministry is preparing to request airline companies to change their flight schedule to lean hours, said Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA.

“We are already providing some incentives to those airline companies who have scheduled their flights during lean hours. However, the tourism ministry is preparing for new incentive packages,” informed Chhetri. As per him, TIA has been providing incentives on landing, parking and navigational charges to the airline companies with flights during lean hours. However, ministry now is planning to introduce a completely new incentive package for lean hour operations, he added.

Chhetri further said that the major intention of the government is to utilise the lean hours so that it could support Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign as well. “Considering this the ministry is preparing to offer incentives and request airline companies to schedule flight operations during lean hours — from midnight to 3am and in between 5pm and 8pm,” he said.

Currently, TIA handles around 4.5 million to five million passengers a year while the ministry has set a target to increase TIA’s capacity to handle an additional three million passengers annually.

The country’s sole international airport is at present being upgraded to a boutique airport. Minister Bhattarai has already announced that the TIA will be inaugurated as a boutique airport on January 1 next year.

“We are working to inaugurate TIA as a boutique airport as per announcement made by the minister,” Chhetri said. “Almost all major works have been completed so far. However, a few remaining works will be completed after inauguration.”

A version of this article appears in print on September 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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