The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA) on Wednesday gave its go-ahead to Nepal Airlines to land at Delhi airport.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Managing Director Madan Kharal said it received the flight permit confirmation from India on Wednesday evening, with effect from February 25. NAC, which had planned to resume its Kathmandu -Delhi flight after nearly a year’s gap from Wednesday (8:00 am), was forced to postpone its maiden Airbus A320 flight after the Indian authority asked for a few documents to get the permission to land at Delhi airport.
Around 130 passengers had booked for the flight to the Indian Capital. “It was an accident. However, the Indian authority responded quickly to the Nepal government’s request,” Kharel said.
In a press statement, the corporation expressed its apologies for the inconvenience caused to the passengers. Kharel said almost all travellers who had booked Wednesday’s flight were flown to Delhi on other airlines. “With the DGCA’s approval, NAC’s Delhi flight will start from Friday,” said Kharel.
The national flag carrier plans to operate four weekly flights — on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays — on the Kathmandu -Delhi sector. It plans to increase the frequency to daily flights soon, NAC officials said.
India’s DGCA allowed NAC to fly to Delhi after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nepali Embassy in Delhi requested the Indian government to issue the permit. The DGCA had informed NAC on Monday to apply for a new flight permission as latter had suspended the services for nearly a year.
The corporation had applied for a flight permit two weeks ago and its airport slot was approved. NAC’s operating authorisation on the Kathmandu -Delhi sector is valid until June 26, 2015. However, the corporation was told to fulfil other obligations set by the DGCA.
After NAC failed to fly the plane, Nepal’s acting ambassador to India Krishna Prasad Dhakal and second secretary Shibani Basnet met India’s civil aviation authority officials on Tuesday. Dhakal said they reached an agreement by fast-tracking the process.
“After the completion of the paperwork and bilateral dialogue, NAC got the permission to fly the plane to Delhi from Wednesday evening,” said Dhakal. “The flight will take place as per the regular schedule now on.”
The new jet, first of two on order, arrived in Kathmandu on February 8 and was issued an air operator’s certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal on Tuesday afternoon allowing it to fly for commercial services.
The cost for a one-way ticket on the Delhi flight has been fixed at Rs 7,084, while a return ticket costs Rs 15,177 including taxes. The fares are promotional.
The corporation said it accorded high priority to the Delhi sector as travel demand has increased tremendously. NAC will also be resuming flights on the Kathmandu -Bangalore sector after a long break.
On March 14, 2013, NAC ended a four-decade-old history by formally ceasing its Kathmandu -Delhi flights due to lack of planes.
Industry watchers expect airfares to drop with the national flag carrier flying the Delhi route once again. Ticket prices have swelled three-fold since the troubled NAC went offline creating a bonanza for competing carriers.
Although the airfare on this sector drops during the off-season, it skyrockets to Rs 40,000 during the March-May and September-November peak seasons. A one-way ticket on the Kathmandu -Delhi sector costs Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000 on a normal day.