KATHMANDU, March 23: Domestic airlines have decided to provide up to 36% discount on airfare to the passengers traveling to destinations other than Simara, Bharatpur and Janakpur from Monday.
The airlines operators have lowered the ceiling of the maximum fare stating that airways have become the only medium for people to travel long distance as the government has announced suspension of long haul public transport effective from Monday. The government has listed domestic air service (fixed wing) as an essential service and the airlines operators have been providing the service staying in the ceiling limitation prepared by the government, Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) said, issuing a press statement on Sunday.
The airlines have stated that the revised airfare with discounts ranging from 20% to 36% will be valid during the time period of March 23 to April 3 when the government has imposed the suspension on long haul transport service.
The former maximum rate for destinations like Birtanagar, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Bhadrapur, Dhangadhi, Pokhara and Rajbiraj was Rs 7,878, Rs 6,781, Rs 10,620, Rs 9,800, Rs 14,125, Rs 5,272, and Rs 6,540, respectively. The airlines have decided to charge a maximum of Rs 5,500 for Birtanagar, Rs 4,900 for Bhairahawa, Rs 6,300 for Nepalgunj, Rs 6,200 for Bhadrapur, Rs 7,900 for Dhangadhi, Rs 3,700 for Pokhara and Rs 4,200 for Rajbiraj during the period. For the same destinations, normal airfare used to be Rs 7,450, Rs 6,100, Rs 9,850, Rs 9,000, Rs 12,500, and Rs 5,000 respectively.
In response to the complaints from people about the overcharging for airfare, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai had called upon domestic airlines operators and discussed on the need to revise the airfare during the time of crisis. In a meeting with airlines operators on Saturday, Minister Bhattarai had requested the airlines operators to consider the revision of airfare. He said that the airlines operators should consider the minimum base rate as their maximum for the time being and maintain the existing rate of airfare. Following the request, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines, issuing a press statement, have revised the airfare. Similarly, Shree Airlines had also decided to fly passengers to domestic destinations at minimum airfare against the fare determined by the government on Saturday. The company has said that the airlines will fly to different domestic destinations in cheaper price than the price approved by the government.
The airlines operators have been providing their services in the trunk routes.
According to AOAN, 40% share of the earnings will be part of airlines operation cost. The AOAN has been asking Nepal Oil Corporation to revise the price of aviation fuel in line with the decreasing fuel price in the international market. They say with the reduced fuel price, the airfare will be automatically revised for passengers.