Himalaya Airlines urges government to review ASA with China

27th Mar, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Mar 27: Himalaya Airlines has requested the government to review bilateral air service agreement (ASA) with China citing a disparity in the number of Nepali and Chinese airlines running flights between the two countries.

Currently, five Chinese carriers operate flights to Nepal but no Nepali carrier serves China. Himalaya Airlines is seeking to start flights to Shanghai Pudong, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, which have the major international airports of China. The two governments can sign a memorandum of understanding and grant flight permission to Himalaya to boost Chinese arrivals from new markets, ministry officials said. “The ASA can be revised later.”

Vijay Shrestha, Vice President of Administration at Himalaya Airlines, Vijay Shrestha, has said that to achieve the aim set by new tourism minister, the airlines have to connect to all 4 destinations. The Minister of Tourism, Rabindra Adhikari, has set the aim to attract 1.5 million tourists by 2020.

Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) suspect that Nepali carriers have been kept out of Chinese airports due to the significant safety concern (SSC) tag given to Nepal by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in its audit report in 2013. The tag has been removed recently.

Himalaya Airlines had announced in March 2016 that it would be conducting its maiden commercial flight on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector after receiving its first aircraft. It has not received flight permission from India even after 2 years. The carrier currently operates 32 flights weekly on the Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Doha and Dammam sectors with its three Airbus A320 jets.