Turkish Airlines is most likely to start direct flights on Kathmandu-Istanbul route by the end of this year.
"After a long lobbying, the direct flights between Istanbul and Kathmandu is going to start by the end of 2012 or the early 2013, if late,” said Xsights Research and Consultancy managing director Cigdem Penn, who is also one of the delegates in the Turkish team that was in the capital part for the 26th CACCI Conference.
The direct flights between the two countries will not only connect the two countries opening up the various avenues for business and economic cooperation but also help increase social and development activities, she added.
The direct flight was planned almost a year ago but could not start because of the fifth freedom right.
Nepal and Turkey signed an air service agreement (ASA) in September 2010 allowing the two countries to operate 14 flights per week between Kathmandu and Istanbul. Turkish Airlines had also appointed Zenith Travels as its GSA for Nepal.
Starting of the direct flight could help bring more Turlish tourists to Nepal as the bilateral trade that was once in favour of Nepal has seen a change and currently Nepal faces huge trade deficit with Turkey, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre data.
"The air connectivity will also help European visitors travel to and from Nepal easily," Penn added.
Meanwhile, Nepal Turkey Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NTCCI) and Union of Chambers of Commodity Exchange of Turkey (UCCET) agreed to cooperate in promoting mutual business between the two countries.
President of NTCCI of Akhil Chapagain and visiting UCCET team led by its president Rona Yircali yesterday signed the agreement to increase the cooperation and exchange information about the two countries business and investment opportunities.
"Both parties should identify areas of opportunities for joint ventures and other mutual business interests in the coming days, Chapagain said after signing the agreement.
Rona, on the occasion, requested all NTCCI members and the Nepali business community to join hands to promote mutual trade interests — especially in the energy and construction sectors — between Turkey and Nepal.
Nepal-Turkey bilateral trade
Fiscal Year-- Exports -- Imports
2006-07 -- Rs 174.80 million -- Rs 190.58 million
2007-08 -- Rs 107.72 million -- Rs 104.08 million
2008-09 -- Rs 472.45 million-- Rs 87.04 million
2009-10 -- Rs 276.97 million -- Rs 404.57 million
2010-11 -- Rs 865.69 million -- Rs 1849.86 million
(Source: Trade and Export Promotion Centre)