KATHMANDU, Sept 25: The Nepal Airlines Corporation Employees Union has alleged that the self-ground handling permit to Himalaya Airlines is a conspiracy to strip NAC off the job.
Issuing a press statement on Friday, the union said that it is clear that the permit is a conspiracy to include Himalaya Airlines in the service and later let it enter the commercial ground handling in February, 2021. “Such a step will put NAC and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal into financial risk as the portion of the earnings will be bagged by a foreign company that has shares in the airline company,” the statement stated. The NAC has been providing the ground handling service at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) as per the criteria set by ICAO and IATA.
The CAAN had permitted Himalaya Airlines to try its hand in self-ground handling. According to CAAN officials, the airline had applied for a permit on March 20 and its meeting of September 13 decided to provide the company with the permit on the basis of its compliance with the criteria set by CAAN for ground handling.
CAAN has defended its decision of providing the license by stating that the Ground Handling Directive consents to any company that has been allowed to operate more than 35 flights a week. However, the union has rebuked CAAN’s decision to let an airline company that has shares of an international company, indulge in self-ground handling service.
“The approval of the application for self-ground handling to another company when there is already a lack of space for ground handling equipment used for commercial ground handling indicates that the decision has been influenced by the aviation mafia,” the statement added.
Currently, the national flag carrier is entitled to provide commercial ground handling service in Nepal. It has been providing the service to 25 international airlines operating flights to and from Nepal. Other than that, only Air India and Thai Airways have been provided with self-ground handling permits.