KATHMANDU, June 26: A total of 1,003 Nepalis were brought back home from four different countries on Friday.
Two Nepal Airlines flights from Bahrain brought 273 Nepalis home while a charter flight carried out by Jazeera Airlines brought 160 passengers from Kuwait. Himalaya Airlines repatriated 148 stranded Nepalis from Malaysia, Air Arabia brought 168 passengers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an NAC aircraft carried 254 Nepalis home. According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), 10 international flights were carried out to and from the airport on Friday alone.
The NAC is also conducting two flights to Hong Kong and Melbourne carrying 155 and 38 passengers, respectively. Similarly, two more Nepal Airlines aircraft and two Himalaya Airlines aircraft are bound to depart from the international airport this evening.
Two repatriation flights from Malaysia had carried 15 dead bodies of migrant workers who had died in the employing country. Meanwhile, eight repatriation flights by Nepal Airlines, Himalaya Airlines, Qatar Airways and Jazeera Airways will be carried out on Saturday to bring vulnerable Nepalis from abroad. According to Debendra KC, general manager at TIA, the national flag carrier will carry out four flights to Hong Kong, Dubai, Riyadh and Melbourne. Himalaya Airlines will carry out two flights to Abu Dhabi and Damman whereas Qatar Airways and Jazeera Airways will conduct one flight each from Doha and Kuwait, respectively.
Meanwhile, 27 passengers departed from Kathmandu to different districts in five different domestic flights whereas Kailash Air brought one passenger from Myagdi. Domestic airline operators like Summit Air, Kailash Air, Simrik Heli, Sita Air and Simrik Air conducted flights to destinations like Dolpa, Myagdi, Mugu, Dhading, Simikot, Gorkha and Pokhara.
Rajan Poudel, under secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) said that the government is working on the air schedule for charter flights to bring back more Nepalis who are willing to come back to Nepal. Many Nepalis are stranded in the employing countries due to the economic turmoil the world is going through. Nepalis whose visas and employment contracts have expired and those who have been laid off due to the Covid-19 outbreak are in distress on foreign lands. The government has prioritized to evacuate these people and bring them back immediately.
All the passengers who book the tickets to travel back to Nepal are required to produce a negative RDT or PCR test report before boarding the plane. The Nepal-based international airlines have stated that the flights will be carried out only if the occupancy rate crosses 85 percent.