India to open additional int'l air routes through Nepal

Published On: December 23, 2016 02:20 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Dec 23: India has agreed to provide additional air routes to Nepal.

During the bilateral talks held on Wednesday, the southern neighbor agreed to develop

Trans-Himalaya 2 and redefine the Kathmandu-Mahendranagar-Delhi (L626) route as a bi-directional route, apart from the bi-directional facility for the Lhasa-Kathmandu-Bharatpur-Bhairahawa-Delhi B345 route and the Kathmandu-Jaleshwar-Patna G335 route. 

Nepal is building a regional international Airport in Bhairahawa and Pokhara. Similarly, the government is also planning to construct an international airport in Nijgadh of Bara. Of these, Pokhara and Bhairahawa will be ready after four years. However, Nepal has only one air route for its international flights.

If new air routes are not opened in time, the construction of international airport will be meaningless, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

A Nepali delegation led by Suresh Acharya, joint Secretary at the Ministry of Culture,

Tourism and Civil Aviation is in India to hold discussion on adding more air routes. Likewise, the Indian team was led by Arun Kumar, joint secretary at the Ministry of Aviation of India. 

Nepal and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the management and execution of these airspaces on Wednesday.

"Currently, all the international flights enter Nepal from the Simara route," Acharya said, adding that the ministry is working to open Nepalgunj, Mahendranagar and Janakpur routes for international flights. "The agreement will pave the way for opening new routes for Nepal," he added.

Nepal started discussion with India about opening Trans Himalayan 2 route as it would help flights from the Gulf countries to South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong to use the Nepali airspace. 

These countries have so far been using Indian airspace.

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