Karnali Province plans own airline

Published On: September 30, 2018 03:10 AM NPT By: Nagendra Upadhyaya

Seeks Chinese support to construct two airports and purchase aircraft

SURKHET, Sept 30: If things go as planned, the government of Karnali Province will have its own flag carrier airline in the near future.

Karnali Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi on Saturday announced that the provincial government is preparing to run its own airline company, Karnali Airlines, for internal air services and inter-province connectivity . “We have held discussions with the Chinese government and aviation entrepreneurs to purchase medium-sized aircraft,” said Shahi, who has just returned from a week long China visit. “We will begin on the plane purchase plan after signing an agreement with the federal government,” he said.

During a meeting with the Chinese government, the delegation led by Shahi discussed the construction of two airports in the province and Chinese aid for aircraft purchase . “The government of China and investors there are ready to invest in the development of Karnali," Shahi said. "We have initiated a dialogue and entered into preliminary negotiations. Chinese investment will be sought after signing an agreement with the federal government.”

Before leaving for China, Shahi had scoured several districts for airport construction sites.

The provincial government had earlier announced it was to upgrade Surkhet Airport into an international facility and construct a high-altitude airport in Mugu.

Speaking at an event organized to inform the public about the plans for the airline, Shahi said the Chinese company, North West, will conduct a feasibility study for the airports .

Apart from the airline plans, Chief Minister Shahi said the provincial government will work along the lines of constructing a fast-track road connecting Jamunaha on the Nepal-India border with Hilsa, which connects Nepal with China.

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