Most domestic flights cancelled

Kathmandu, November 7

It is unfortunate that the fuel crisis in the country has hit the operation of domestic airlines during the peak tourist season.

A majority of domestic airlines operators have cancelled most of their flights for tomorrow due to acute shortage of aviation turbine fuel.

Budhha Air will operate fights only to Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Dhangadi sectors due to the fuel crisis, said Parashar Jung Pandey, senior sales and marketing manager at Buddha Air.

Likewise, Simrik Airlines will operate flights only to Bhairhawa, according to Prajol Thapa, sales and marketing chief of the airline. Simrik had five scheduled flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara and three flights from Pokhara to Jomsom tomorrow.

Yeti Airlines has also informed that it has cancelled all flights today except for its mountain flights and the Kathmandu-Lukla sector.

Reportedly, domestic airlines will get refuelling facility in Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Dhangadi for tomorrow. Domestic airlines have cancelled most of their flights for tomorrow following a circular from Airline Operators Association of Nepal the umbrella organisation of domestic airline operators which says that Nepal Oil Corporation cannot provide refuelling facility tomorrow and it is not certain from when domestic airlines will get fuel in Kathmandu.

“AOAN held a meeting with NOC in a bid to operate domestic flights at least on trunk routes such as Kathmandu to Biratnagar, Pokhara, Bhairahawa, Dhangadi and Nepalgunj,” said Ghanashyam Raj Acharya, spokesperson for AOAN,

adding, “Interruption in operation of domestic flights pose a major setback to the tourism industry.”

Domestic airline services had not been affected despite the fuel crisis in the country because the country had managed to airlift ATF via aircraft of the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines. But recently, Nepal Airlines refused to give fuel to other domestic airlines, according to NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire.

“Nepal Airlines has to operate at least four flights to cater to the demand of domestic airlines.” The national flag carrier airlifts 24 to 26 kilolitres of ATF during one flight, whereas domestic airlines consume 60 kl each day.

A meeting of AOAN, NOC and Nepal Airlines Corporation with newly appointed Tourism Minister Ananda Raj Pokharel yesterday decided to bring ATF via the national flag carrier and NAC had pledged to operate four flights every day to airlift ATF from Kolkata.

NOC had contracted a private company Petromax to airlift 300 kl ATF each day from Kolkata and Dhaka from November 8 to 24. However, a Jordan Aviation Airlines’ Boeing 767 chartered by Petromax, which was supposed to land at Tribhuvan International Airport today was delayed as Petromax had not taken permission from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal for landing.

“Most probably Petromax will take permission tomorrow,” said Bhola Guragain, director of TIA. He said Petromax has already taken a slot at TIA for chartered flights from November 7 to 24 to operate three flights per day.