KATHMANDU, March 6: Domestic airlines business has been hit hard by the fear of coronavirus, said the Airlines Operators Association Nepal, an umbrella organisation of airlines service providers.
Issuing a press statement today, the Association said the arrival of foreign tourists has sharply dropped and the movement of domestic passengers has reduced in the aftermath of coronavirus (Covid-19) spreading globally following its emergence in China.
The Association, warning that it could take heavy toll on the tourism industry remaining as the major part of the economy, said domestic airlines companies suffer a fall in the business. Following a drop in travel demands, the Association has decided to ground aircraft of all companies on a ratio basis.
A meeting of the Association held on Thursday took a decision to this regard. It also agreed to take all measures to maintain austerity, encourage staffs to take unpaid leave, cutting off facilities for them. It hopes for support and cooperation this time as in the past to cope with the crisis. It has estimated a loss of around four billions to the domestic airlines industry due to impact of coronavirus.
The demand of domestic flights has dropped by 40 per cent per month, according to the Association. The airlines operators have demanded the government ensure concessional loan and subsidy in bank loan.
They have also urged the government to withdraw the VAT in aviation turbine fuel and reduce the price of aviation fuel by at least 30 per cent so that airlines companies could find ways to cope up with adversities.