International flights resume after five months
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 1
- No tourist to be allowed in yet
- Suspension of domestic flights extended till September 15
Regular international flights will resume from tomorrow after being suspended for more than five months as part of the government’s bid to curb the spread of the COVID pandemic in Nepal.
The first regular international flight will be conducted by Nepal Airlines Corporation and is scheduled to fly to Narita in Japan from Tribhuvan International Airport at 1:00am.
Due to the COVID pandemic, all the regular domestic and international flights had been suspended from March 22.
Since then, only repatriation flights have been conducted to evacuate Nepalis stranded abroad due to the pandemic. However, the government is resuming international flights by implementing several health safety protocols.
According to a source in TIA, regular flights will be handled by the Nepali Army, akin to repatriation flights. After exiting the airport, the Nepali Army will take passengers to holding centres. Passengers who have PCR (polymerase chain reaction test) negative report will be sent home, while passengers who do not have the PCR test report will be sent to quarantine centres. The government will, however, continue to operate chartered flights to the destinations that do not have PCR testing system.
In the initial phase of flight resumption, no foreign tourists will be allowed in. However, foreign diplomats can travel to Nepal after acquiring special permission from the Nepal government.
The government has published the schedule for 57 regular flights and 27 chartered flights for September.
Meanwhile, 264 Nepalis were evacuated today from Doha in Qatar. Himalaya Airlines evacuated 126 passengers, while NAC brought home 138 passengers.
Seven domestic flights were also conducted today. Simrik Air conducted two flights from Simikot and Khotang to Kathmandu, Shree Air conducted a flight from Dolpa to Kathmandu, Prabhu Heli conducted a flight from Lamjung to Kathmandu, Tara Air departed for Phaplu, Manang Air departed for Pokhara and Air Dynasty took off for Rukum.
The government has extended the suspension of domestic flights till September 15.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.