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Flight frequency between Nepal, Oman to be hiked

- Post Report, KATHMANDU

Dec 27, 2014-

Nepal and Oman are set to sign a revised air service agreement (ASA) on December 28-29 in Muscat to boost the frequency up to 21 flights weekly from the present seven due to increased travel demand, particularly from Nepali migrant workers, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said Friday.

Oman Air operates daily flights between Kathmandu and Muscat. No Nepali carrier serves the route. The Cabinet gave the go-ahead to the ministry’s proposal to review the bilateral agreement on Friday.

A seven-member delegation led by Tourism Secretary Suresh Man Shrestha is scheduled to leave for the capital city of Oman on Saturday to sign the revised agreement, said Pramod Nepal, under-secretary at the ministry.

“Although it has not been fixed by how many flights the frequency will be increased, Oman has asked for 21 weekly flights,” ministry sources said. The officials said that bilateral negotiations would take place on December 28 and the signing ceremony would be held subsequently.

“The demand for an increase in the number of seats with Oman has mainly been proposed from their side, as Oman Air’s current seats demand has outstripped supply as Nepali migrant worker departures to the destination have increased consistently.”

The carrier also serves various other cities in the region like Doha and Manama with connecting flights.

According to the ministry’s statistics, traveller movement (inbound and outbound) on Oman Air jumped 12 percent to 94,238 last year. The carrier brought 7,905 tourists to Nepal last year, mainly from the UK and Germany. More than 5,000 Nepalis travel to Oman for employment annually.

Nepal and Oman first signed an ASA on Dec 2, 1997. Oman Air launched services between Muscat and Kathmandu on September 2, 2010 with four weekly flights. The frequency was increased to seven weekly flights in 2011.

Nepal has revised bilateral ASAs with three countries in the last one and a half years. On April 2013, Nepal and the UAE signed an enhanced ASA permitting operation of 70 flights per week with any type of aircraft on a reciprocal basis. Likewise, the ASA with China was revised in February permitting the operation of 56 flights from 14 flights per week. Subsequently, the ASA with Bhutan was revised in May increasing the number of flights between the two countries three-fold to 21 per week with any type of aircraft.  The ministry has planned to sign new ASAs with Australia, Iceland, Cambodia and Vietnam and revise the ASAs with Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan. Nepal has signed bilateral air service agreements with 36 countrie

Published: 27-12-2014 08:31

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