POKHARA, Dec 7: Domestic airline companies have canceled more than half of their flights scheduled for Thursday, citing provincial and parliamentary election.
Airlines companies have reduced their flights from Pokhara to destinations like Kathmandu, Bharatpur, Bhairahawa and Jomsom due to low passenger footfalls.
Buddha Air, which has operating seven to eight flights on Pokhara-Kathmandu route, has scheduled only three flights for Thursday. It has also canceled its flight to Bharatpur and Bhairahawa from Pokhara.
Likewise, Yeti Airlines also has canceled half of scheduled flights. The airline, which has been operating nine flights per day on Pokhara-Kathmandu route, has scheduled only four flights for Thursday.
Another carrier Tara Air has also reduced flight frequency on Pokhara-Jomsom route to one on Thursday. Simrik Air has said that it would operate only one flight on Pokhara-Kathmandu route on Thursday. It has been operating three-four flights on the sector on other days.“
"As the tourist season is about to end, there are only few foreign passengers for Thursday," Gautam Baral, station manager of Buddha Air in Pokhara, said“ "We have reduced the number of flights for Thursday as movement of domestic passengers has fallen significantly due to election."
Likewise, Bikash Baral, station manager of Simrik Airlines in Pokhara, said the airline company will operate normal flights from Friday onwards“ "As the government has prohibited vehicular movement on the election day, the number of foreign passengers is high compared to Nepali”," he added.
Not only scheduled passenger flights, recreational flights have also been affected by the election. Pom Narayan Shrestha of Pokhara Ultralight said that his company has not received any booking for ultralight flight for Thursday“ "There is no advance booking for ultralight flights. But we will operate flights if we get group”," he added“ "We have been operating two to four flights per day in recent days as tourist footfalls have decreased due to election."
Officials of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Pokhara Office, however, said that movement of tourists will not be affected due to election“ "We have arranged shuttle buses to ferry passengers between airports and major hotel”," Uday Bhattarai, chief of the office, said.
Similarly, Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) has received permission from the District Administration Office (DAO) Kaski to operate around a dozen vehicles on the election day“ "We will use these vehicles to ferry trekkers from trekking ending points like Nayapul and Begnas Lak”," Kedar Sharma, president of PTC, told Republica“ "Trekkers need not worry as we have made all the needful arrangements. But they should form a group and wait for the bus," he added.