KATHMANDU, Feb 24: Recreational aviation operation license of 11 paragliding companies has been scrapped this year, according to Flight Safety Standard Department (FSSD) of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). The license of 11 paragliding companies has been canceled as did not apply to renew their license.
Devendra Prasad Pandey, manager of the recreational aviation section of the department said that the operational license of the companies had to be cancelled as they failed to renew them on time.
According to Recreational Aviation Rule 2012, license of the recreational aviation companies are valid for one year. And if they do not renew their recreational aviation operational license within six months after that, their license would be cancelled.
Meanwhile, such adventurous recreational activity is flourishing in Nepal. Every year significant number of people reaches Nepal for recreational activities. According to FSSD, there are total 74 recreational aviation companies in Nepal, including paragliding, ultra light flights, para-motor and hot-air balloon.
Currently, there are four ultra flight companies, three paragliding schools, one para-motor company, and 66 paragliding companies in the country. Among them two companies are in Kathmandu, two in Dharan, one in Palpa, one in Surkhet, and rest of the 68 companies are in Pokhara.
According to CAAN, companies have received recreational aviation operational license in new places such as Bandipur, Bhedetar, Surkhet, Syangja, Palpa, Bandipur, Kanyam, and Dhampus. One hot-air balloon company has been permitted to start operation at Dhampus.
“Each passing year, the number of recreation tourists is growing, and so does the companies to operate such activities,” Pandey said.
The recreational aviation companies are flying more than 350 fleets annually. In 2016, CAAN has collected Rs 10.2 million in revenue from recreational aviation activities. The revenue collection of 2017 is yet to be compiled, he said.
“Nepal has suitable climate for recreational aviation. We can operate fleets here in all season,” he added. “This advantage has helped us to increase the number of adventurous tourists in the country.”
“Not only foreigners but domestic tourists are being attracted toward such adventurous activities in recent years,” he added. Paragliding started in Nepal in 1997. Formal commercial operation started in 2000. In the 21-year-long history, recreational aviation service has increased remarkably. As the activities are increasing, CAAN is preparing to bring better regulations for the recreational aviation industry in association with Nepal Air Sports Aviation (NAA). Currently, over 500 people are direct employed in this industry across the country.