KATHMANDU, Nov 04: The helicopter service providers of Nepal have been operating commercial flights to the Annapurna Base Camp without taking permission from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).
The existing rule permits to incorporate rescue flights to the area and the commercial flights are subjected to be charged Nrs. 2000 per flights along with the permission which are being violated by the Simrik and the Prabhu Air amongst others.
“We have found that helicopter companies, including Simrik Air and Prabhu Air, are flying tourists to the Annapurna Base Camp directly without taking permission from ACAP and paying any fee,” Rashmi Acharya, officer at the tourism office ACAP, Pokhara said.
ACAP on Wednesday wrote to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), drawing its attention toward such illegal flights. The ACAP has sought the help of CAAN and the Civil Aviation Office Pokhara to prevent operation of such unauthorized flights in the conservation area in the future.
In its letter, ACAP has cited Rule 16 of ACAP Rules, 2053 which bars helicopters from operating flights in the conservation area without permission.
Some helicopter companies are regularly operating commercial flights to the Annapurna Base Camp in recent weeks.
Some tour operators have joined hands with helicopter companies to floated ‘Breakfast at the Base Camp’ package for foreign tourists.
Acharya herself saw some helicopters at the Annapurna Base Camp during Annapurna Base Camp Festival organized on October 11.
“We have also received complaints about helicopter flights from some locals,” she added.
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