CAAN, Nepal Airsports Association at odds over resuming paragliding in Pokhara

Published On: December 25, 2023 08:48 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 25: A meeting between the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the Nepal Airsports Association (NAA) is set to reconvene on Thursday with the aim of reaching an agreement for the resumption of paragliding services in Pokhara.

The suspension of paragliding services occurred due to paragliding companies irregularly allocating flight fees, prompting CAAN to cease operations for the past two weeks. Despite ongoing discussions, a consensus on restarting the popular tourist activity in Pokhara has remained elusive.

Gyanendra Bhul, the information officer of CAAN, acknowledged the lack of conclusions from previous meetings, leading to the decision to convene another meeting on Thursday. He stated, "Paragliding services in Pokhara have been closed for two weeks. In the meantime, we held a meeting with the entrepreneurs to discuss the matter. However, consensus was not reached, and the meeting will be held again on Thursday."

The closure of paragliding services has generated tension among paragliding companies, leading to a complete cessation of flights for two weeks amidst disagreements over reduced fees and increased conflicts.

With the relocation of the paragliding spot from Sarangkot to Mandredhunga following the inauguration of the Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA), Bhul noted that the service pause is due to non-compliance with the standards set for the activity.

Currently, 74 companies operate paragliding services from Mandredhunga under the NAA. Bhul also mentioned that CAAN has issued instructions to adjust the pricing for this activity, stating that the current Rs 12,000 per person is deemed expensive. As stakeholders seek common ground, the outcome of Thursday's meeting holds the potential to determine the fate of paragliding in Pokhara.

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