KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 31

While the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on wide swaths of the economy, the country’s aviation sector faced a loss of more than Rs 23 billion in the period between March and November.

On the occasion of 22nd anniversary of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), it revealed the actual loss to the country’s aviation sector.

According to the CAAN, the domestic aviation sector lost a total of Rs 23.31 billion in revenue between March and November.

Of the total loss, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) lost Rs five billion while all other domestic airline companies lost Rs 10.62 billion.

Meanwhile, Himalayan Airlines lost Rs two billion and CAAN itself lost around Rs 5.69 billion during the pandemic.

As per the authority, it lost Rs 2.63 billion in income from headings such as ground handling and shop rentals. Meanwhile, Rs 1.37 billion was lost towards income from airport development charge. Similarly, Rs 1.69 billion was lost in other miscellaneous income.

CAAN Director General Rajan Pokhrel said that the industry lost about 65 per cent of passengers in the domestic sector and about 72 per cent of passengers in international sector compared to the corresponding period of 2019.

“This pandemic has also heavily affected our major infrastructure projects and other development works,” he said.

During this period, international aircraft movement slumped by 74.08 per cent, while domestic aircraft movement fell by 65.71 per cent.

Pokhrel further said that the civil aviation sector was in serious crisis due to the pandemic but that the situation is gradually improving.

“We are confident that the losses incurred by our aviation sector will be fully recovered,” he said, “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, our priority today is to ensure safety of travelling public and personnel involved in aviation operations to the extent possible.”

CAAN had marked its annual day in the presence of the newly-appointed Tourism Minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Tourism Secretary Yadav Prasad Koirala.

Addressing the event, Minister Dhakal vowed to uplift the entire industry with efficient work.