Kathmandu, April 15:

The aviation sector has been badly hit by the ongoing general strike, aviation experts said warning that the sector is likely to suffer more if the problem continues. The sector is

witnessing a sharp decline in inbound traveller arrivals, they said, urging the demonstrators to refrain from attacking airline vehicles.

“If bandhs continue, we will definitely have a tough time trying to run our operations,” said Mohan Khanal, managing director of the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation.

Furthermore, it would be difficult to operate if the vehicles carrying crew, including pilots, are attacked, he said, adding that the demonstrators had recently vandalised an RNAC vehicle.

“If we stall our operations, other airlines will also be affected since the RNAC is a ground handler of all airlines except Thai Airways and Indian Airlines,” he said.

The RNAC was “forced to delay its 7 am scheduled flight to Hong Kong this morning by around three hours due to inconvenience,” he said.

Similarly, Upendra Karki, marketing director of the Cosmic Air, said the airline has currently stalled its operations to Bangladesh and Kolkota while the Delhi-Kathmandu flights have been reduced from twice daily to one.

“Inbound travellers outside the country have cancelled their flights to Nepal owing to the ongoing situation while the domestic sector has not been as badly hit as the international sector,” he said.

Vijay Shrestha, vice-president of the Airline Operators’ Association of Nepal, urged the demonstrators to refrain from vandalising airlines’ vehicles and allow the air passengers to move freely.

“At times like this, people don’t travel for pleasure, they travel out of necessity,” he said.

“It’s too early to comment whether the aviation sector would stall it operations owing to the recent turn of events,” he added.