KATHMANDU, March 28: A total of 307 foreigners nationals left here on a Qatar Airways aircraft on Friday.
The first special chartered flight took off at Friday noon carrying 304 adults and three infants after a high-level committee formed to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus decided to facilitate countries to rescue their citizens stranded in Nepal on Wednesday.“Among the passengers, 190 were Germans and the rest were from other European nations,” said Raj Kumar Chhetri, spokesperson at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). After the government imposed the nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, many foreigners including trekkers were left stranded in different parts of Nepal.
In line with the government's decision, many countries have started seeking permission to airlift their citizens. Nepal-based embassies of Germany, US, Australia and France have reached out to the government for permission to evacuate their citizens from Nepal and other countries are likely to follow suit.
The US Embassy in Nepal has called upon its citizens who want to go back to come into contact as it continues to explore flight options once the permission is granted. Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Pete Budd in twitter on Friday said, “As of March 28, we are progressing bookings for a special commercial flight from Kathmandu to Sydney with Qatar Airways. Flight leaves March 30, Monday.” He has requested the Australians to book soon stating the possibility of oversubscribed flight.
Two Qatar Airways chartered flights are taking off from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Saturday. “The aircraft will land at TIA at around 10:15 am and is scheduled to leave with passengers at 11:30 am,” Chhetri told Republica adding, “However, the number of passengers is uncertain as of now.”
Domestic airlines operators have been taking turns to rescue stranded tourists from different parts of Nepal. Buddha Air had operated a chartered flight to bring 58 French nationals stranded at Pokhara due to the lockdown. Similarly, Yeti Airlines' sister airline, Tara Air on Friday morning rescued 14 Australians from Lukla.
Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said, “518 stranded foreigners have come in contact with the NTB, of which almost 300 have been rescued and brought to Kathmandu.” NTB has rescued foreigners whose stay in Nepal had crossed over 14 days and has requested the ones whose stay is under 14 days to stay in self-quarantine. The tourism promotion organization is preparing to rescue tourists stranded in Lukla, Manang, and Mustang, among other places. According to Regmi, NAC will operate five flights on Saturday to bring the stranded tourists to Kathmandu.