Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Domestic and international flights to resume with some restrictions

The domestic and international flights that remained suspended since the government imposed prohibitory orders shortly after the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19 in April, will resume with some restrictions, according to the government.

The government has announced to resume both domestic and international flights, confirmed the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. "The domestic flights will be allowed to operate with 50 per cent seat occupancy, while international flights will be operated as per the safety protocol of the government," the notice published by the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers reads. 

However, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation will fix the number of flights for each airlines. But it is said that government is allowing the airlines to operate half the flights, from what they used to operate before Covid-19. The Cabinet meeting, on Monday, decided to lift the restrictions for domestic services from Sunday.

The domestic airlines welcomed the government decision saying that the resumption of flights would boost business confidence.

The government has also decided to resume regular international flights to and from Kathmandu in some destinations especially the labour destinations, reads the notice. Though, the exact number of Nepali migrant workers stuck abroad is unknown, it is estimated that some 1,500 to 2,000 Nepalis are waiting to return home from each of the popular labour destination countries.

They are mostly those workers whose contracts or visas have expired. Likewise, the flights will also help to bring back the bodies of dead migrant workers that have remained in many destination countries. Some 70 to 80 bodies of Nepali migrant workers are stranded in different labour destinations, according to the government.

With the new decisions, Nepal Airlines and Qatar Airways will be allowed to operate two flights each a week in Kathmandu-Doha sector. Similarly, four flights each a week will be allowed in Kathmandu-Doha sector, Kathmandu-Kwalalumpur sector, two flights each a week in Kathmandu-Istanbul sector, Kathmandu-Damam and Kathmandu-Kuwait sectors.

The government will also allow to operate one flight each a week in Kathmandu-Muscat, Kathmandu- Seoul, Kathmandu-Tokyo, Kathmandu-Chhengdu and Kathmandu-Guangzhou sectors.

Earlier, except for two weekly flights on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector, Nepal halted all domestic flights from midnight of May 3, and all international flights from midnight of May 6 as the coronavirus looked like spreading out of control. The two flights on the Kathmandu-New Delhi route, one each for Nepal Airlines and Air India remain unchanged, under an air bubble arrangement.

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