Entrepreneurs request govt to allow paragliding in Pokhara from 10AM to 12PM

Published On: July 10, 2022 03:30 PM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

POKHARA, July 10: The regional international airport in Pokhara is targeted to come into operation from January 1, 2023 as its construction has been completed.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has said it will operate the airport from January 1, 2023 and has also instructed the paragliding entrepreneurs to shift paragliding from the skies of Pokhara.

However, the entrepreneurs are saying that the adventurous sport has been operating in Pokhara for nearly two and a half decades and removing this from the sky of Pokhara will result in the downfall of the tourism sector as a large manpower will be unemployed, and investment will be wasted. Pilots and entrepreneurs have demanded the authorities concerned to allow flights at certain times against the current practice of flights taking place anytime throughout the day.

The entrepreneurs argue that paragliding should be allowed to operate along with the operation of the airport. They said that they are ready to fly with more discipline and have requested to set aside two hours a day (from 10 am to 12 noon) for paragliding flights so as not to hamper the flights and landing at the airport. According to them, the adventure tourism of Pokhara would have to bear huge losses if there is no space for paragliding in the skies of Pokhara.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of Nepal Airsports Association (NAA), an umbrella organization of paragliding entrepreneurs, held on Saturday, President of Nepal Paragliding Pilot Club, Bimal Pahari said that they would be pleased to operate paragliding even for just two hours in the skies of Pokhara. "Since this airport in Pokhara will not be operational 24 hours immediately, providing two hours a day for paragliding even if it is for the first few years will save the tourism sector of Pokhara," he said.

Similarly, he said, "We also have to improve ourselves. We've had some weaknesses over the last two years. We flew as much as we could for money. If we had improved in the last two years, this would not have happened. We, the pilots and entrepreneurs are also a factor for this problem.”

According to Pahari, about four million tourists have enjoyed paragliding in Pokhara since the paragliding business started there. Soldiers from some countries come to Pokhara for paragliding training as well. He mentioned that paragliding in the skies of Pokhara is one of the top three in the world. He said that the stay of tourists would be reduced if paragliding is displaced from Pokhara.

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