Friday, October 4, 2013

Airlines postpone protest plans

The airliners have shelved the protest programmes till the festivals.
The protest programmes have been postponed for a month till November 9, according to the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) that had announced its protest – that started from September 29 – against the aviation fuel price hike.
“However, after a month, we will continue the protest programmes against the repeated hikes in the price of aviation fuel,” president of AOAN Rameshwor Thapa, said, adding that the repeated increment of fuel charge is not justified as it pushes the airfare hitting directly passengers.
The fuel alone accounts for 40 per cent of the operating cost of an airline, the AOAN added. “Likewise, weather and runway problems have been adding an additional five per cent burden on the top of operating costs.”
Domestic airline operators have been protesting the recent price hike in aviation fuel by Rs 7 from Rs 130 to Rs 137 per litre – on September 11 by the state oil monopoly. Earlier the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) hiked the aviation fuel price by Rs 10 forcing the airline operators to increase the fuel surcharge. 
The rise in aviation fuel prices has directly passed onto travellers in the form of a fuel-surcharge. In the last 18 months, airfares have soared by an additional Rs 2,500 on long-haul routes and a minimum of Rs 1,000 in short-haul ones.
The hike in fuel price will not only hit the passenger but also domestic aviation sector. “The rural populace will get hurt from the frequent rise in aviation fuel price,” the operators said, asking the government to remove cross subsidy and bring bank guarantee for domestic aviation sector.
Domestic passenger movement through the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) dropped by 3.60 per cent year-on-year to 772,873 in the first six months of 2013. The operators said that air passenger movement will continue to decline with regular increase in airfare.

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