KATHMANDU, June 17: A total of 401 Nepalis have arrived in Kathmandu from Bangladesh and Thailand on Wednesday.
A Himalayan Airlines aircraft carried 155 passengers from Dhaka and the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) brought Nepali nationals stranded in Bangkok as a part of the government's evacuation strategy from abroad. According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the Himalaya Airlines aircraft touched down at the country’s international airport at 2:30 pm local time while the NAC landed at 4:00 pm.
All those repatriated homes have been taken to different holding centers in Kathmandu. They will be taken to respective provincial quarantines.
Three charter flights had been scheduled for Wednesday. These included two flights of Himalaya Airlines and one other flight of the NAC. TIA officials said Himalayan Airlines’ flight from Cambodia will arrive in Kathmandu at 8:30 pm.
The government has scheduled 67 repatriation flights from different countries to bring Nepali nationals facing difficulties due to adverse effects of COVID-19 in the employment sector across the world. Two Nepal-based international flights are operating 43 charter flights while foreign airlines will operate 24 flights to Kathmandu. The national flag carrier will operate 24 flights, Himalaya Airlines 19 flights and the foreign international airlines will operate the remaining 24 flights.
According to the Immigration Office at the TIA, 154 people arrived in Kathmandu through a Himalaya Airlines charter flight from Sri Lanka and Maldives on Tuesday.” The aircraft had carried 41 passengers out of the country. “We have prioritized Nepali airlines over foreign airlines for the repatriation flights,” said Yogesh Bhattarai, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Minister Bhattarai said that people, who can afford the airfare, will pay for the tickets on their own, while their employer or the government will bear the cost in case of those unable to bear the cost of airfare. “Now that the aircraft leaving from Nepal can carry passengers willing to travel to the destination, the fare of Nepali international airlines has been revised and is cheaper,” he further said.
As Nepalis continue to return home from different foreign destinations due to COVID-19 pandemic, there lies a huge challenge for the government to provide job opportunities to those returnees as the country itself faces the problem of unemployment. “We have taken this crisis as an opportunity to develop our country by employing returnees who have learned some skill during their stay abroad,” said Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Rameshwar Ray Yadav.