Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Nepal to seek access to all Chinese airports in new aviation agreement

Nepal is seeking access to all Chinese airports as the Chinese airliners have been flying to Nepal but Nepali airlines have not been able to fly to anywhere in China, which according to some experts is ‘Airspace ban’ by China to Nepal.
Likewise, China has proposed to increase flight frequencies to Nepal during the Nepal-China bilateral air service agreement revision meeting next month. The two countries will meet in Beijing on July 23.
Tourism Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya confirmed that Nepal will ask China to allow Nepali airliners to fly to different Chinese cities as the government has set a target to significantly increase Chinese arrivals during Visit Nepal Year 2020, which aims at hosting 2 million foreign tourists.
Nepal has targeted to host at least 500,000 Chinese tourists during the Visit Nepal Year 2020.
Though not a single airliner fly to China, some six Chinese carriers – including Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines, Cathay Dragon and Tibet Airlines – operate flights to Nepal with up to 70 flights per week. The national flag carrier used to operate its service to Osaka, Japan via Shanghai until 2008 under fifth freedom rights, but has not been able to fly to China as the Chinese government has not allowed its airports for Nepali carriers. Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) had applied for landing permission at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in 2015, but its application has not been approved. Though, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) suspected that Nepali carriers have been kept out of Chinese airports due to the significant safety concern tag given to Nepal by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in its audit report in 2013, China has not spelled anything but denied NAC request.
Himalaya Airlines – a Chinese-Nepal private airliner – had also submitted applications at the Tourism Ministry on different occasions with a plan to connect Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Changsha which are key outbound markets with a high consuming capacity, but has not got any green signal from China.
Nepal will add new air routes including the ones asked by Himalaya Airlinesn in the revision meeting, whereas China wants to increase the flight frequency as it has used up all the agreed frequency, he said, adding that Chinese carriers want the revision of the pact to allow more flights with travel demand constantly going up.
Nepal and China signed a revised bilateral air services agreement in February 2014, permitting the operation of 56 flights per week with any type of aircraft on a reciprocal basis. The agreement allowed each country to increase the flight frequency to 70 per week by 2016. Under the old agreement, Chinese airlines were allowed to operate 14 flights per week.

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