Flights, long-haul transport to remain suspended till August 31

KATHMANDU: The Cabinet meeting held today decided to resume flight operations from September 1. Citing the worsening situation due to the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Cabinet postponed the resumption of domestic and international flights.

Earlier on July 20, while announcing the end of the nationwide lockdown, the government had mentioned that it would allow the resumption of both domestic and international flights from August 17. After that decision, stakeholders had begun preparations for resuming flight operations. However, a meeting of the COV- ID-19 Crisis Management Centre held yesterday had recommended that the government postpone the reopening of domestic and international flights, long-distance public vehicles and academic institutions.

The Cabinet has also decided to make people’s movement in border areas more stringent.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has already prepared the draft of protocols on how to manage flights and passengers during the pandemic. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal is also preparing to reduce the number of flights after flights resume.

According to CAAN, only 25 per cent of regular international flights will be allowed to operate in the initial phase.

Flights will be operated focusing on providing services to around 300 passengers per hour.

Some domestic airlines had already published their flight schedules with the airfare starting from August 17. They had also called for ticket bookings. Earlier, the Airline Operators Association of Nepal had requested the government to resume at least domestic flights for the convenience of the public. Even tourism entrepreneurs had been asking the government to resume flights as soon as possible using necessary safety protocols.