Sunday, August 16, 2020

Fifth phase repatriation flights to begin from tomorrow

 The government is starting the fifth phase of repatriation flights for Nepali migrant workers – stranded abroad due to Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures – from tomorrow.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has allowed more than 40 flights during the repatriation period that will last till August 31, according to the regulatory authority of the aviation sector. “We have allowed Nepal-based international airlines to operate more than 30 repatriation flights during the phase,” the authority confirmed, adding that some 10 flights will be conducted by international airlines, whereas Nepal Airlines will bring – stranded Nepalis home – in 17 flights from Dubai, Qatar, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. “Himalaya Airlines is scheduled to operate 14 flights to various labour destinations including Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai.”

Apart from Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines, CAAN has permitted international airlines including Qatar Airways, Air Arabia, Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Fly Dubai and Turkish Airlines to operate 11 flights. The repatriation flights – for the fifth phase – will be operated between August 17 and August 31.

The government has however decided to bring only 500 passengers a day, half from earlier. 

As the number of coronavirus cases increased, the government has announced the resumption of scheduled international and domestic air services from September 1 only. Earlier, the suspension was supposed to be lifted from August 17 but the decision was revised in view of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

More than 50,000 Nepalis have been repatriated from abroad since the government started operating repatriation flights on June 10.

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