You are here: Home » News-IANS » Business-Economy
Business Standard

Nepal, China sign new air services pact

IANS  |  Kathmandu 

In what could be termed as increasing Chinese engagement in this country, Nepal and China revised their bilateral air service agreement (ASA) by increasing flight frequencies four-fold from 14 to 56 a week.

Under the revised pact signed Monday, an additional seven flights per week will be added annually to 70 flights per week by 2016.

This pact is almost a unilateral one as no Nepali airline operates services to its northern neighbour. All these flights will be operated by the Chinese side.

The new ASA has also permitted both sides unlimited traffic rights for cargo-only flights with any type of aircraft and permitted bilateral and third-party code-sharing by carriers of the two countries.

According to Nepal's ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation, Nepali and Chinese carriers can operate from seven Chinese cities - Chengdu, Lhasa, Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian. China has also agreed to open the route from Kathmandu to Lhasa, the nearest city from Nepal and with which Nepal has historical trade ties.

The Kathmandu-Lhasa route would be one of the most expensive in the world as a one-way ticket would cost $450.

Lhasa is connected to a few Chinese cities, while from outside the country, it is only connected to Kathmandu. The Chinese side also "firmly" approved the access of new Trans-Himalaya 1 (Bangkok-Kolkata-Nepalgunj-Indek in Pakistan), 2 and 3 airspace for international traffic. Nepal had proposed the three air routes at different meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and other forums.

Among them, the most beneficial route is the Trans-Himalaya 2 and required much effort by Nepal to bring India and China on board. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had kept the route as a future requirement.

The opening of this airspace will allow international airlines to fly in Nepali airspace, which means savings in fuel and distance for carriers and revenue for Nepal.

However, on Nepal's request for allowing "circle navigation flights" for Nepali helicopters to Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet, the Chinese side said it would consider the proposal after holding discussions with the authorities concerned, Nepali government officials said.

Secretary of Nepal's tourism ministry Sushil Ghimire and Civil Aviation Administration of China's Deputy Administrator Xia Xinghua signed the revised ASA on behalf of their respective governments.

"With the agreement, our relations with China have strengthened further in the aviation sector," said Ghimire.

The two countries had signed their first ASA in 2003 and Air China opened a direct air link between China and Nepal in 2004.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, February 25 2014. 14:00 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU