Kathmandu, October 4
The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has urged the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to upgrade Ramechhap airport as the tourist season has started in the country.
A delegation of TAAN led by its President Khum Bahadur Subedi met with Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary of MoCTCA, today to discuss about the government’s decision to continue flights on the Ramechhap-Lukla sector. After operating flights smoothly in this spring season, CAAN has decided to give continuity to regular flights in the sector in the coming days.
Citing the need to create hassle-free travel for tourists on the Ramechhap-Lukla route, Subedi requested Joint Secretary Lamichhane to focus on developing the infrastructure of Manthali airport in Ramechhap and also sought complete a halt in the Kathmandu-Lukla flights.
The team has further requested the ministry to call a joint meeting between TAAN, Air Security and Authority Supervision Division, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Helicopter Association of Nepal, Airlines Operators’ Association of Nepal, Ramechhap Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA) to coordinate for the smooth operation of Ramechhap-Lukla flights, as per TAAN secretariat.
According to TAAN secretariat, unethical practices of airline companies of giving priority and preference to individual online bookings over those handled by trekking companies in Kathmandu should be stopped for the successful operation of Ramechhap-Lukla flights. “The government must discourage offering seats in Kathmandu-Lukla flights,” said Nabin Trital, senior vice-president of TAAN.
Responding to the requests of TAAN, Lamichhane said that CAAN is currently working on the upgradation of Ramechhap airport. He further assured that along with the airport upgradation, the government will also ensure the security, accommodation and convenient travel of tourists.
Flights to Lukla were diverted from TIA to Manthali airport in Ramechhap since April 1 due to the renovation works of TIA runway as an alternative route till June 30. However, taking into consideration the convenience for passengers and public demand, CAAN had decided to allow
airline companies to operate regular flights on the Ramechhap-Lukla route.
As per CAAN, renovation of Manthali airport is underway and will be completed within this fiscal year, while remaining infrastructure will be renovated accordingly.
A version of this article appears in print on October 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.