KATHMANDU, April 7: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai has directed NAC to not make the payment of commission to the agent involved in (Nepal Airlines Corporation) NAC's chartered flight to Australia.
The direction comes amid rising controversies that NAC had brought the agent into the scene to alter the financial aspect of the deal. News regarding NAC staffers' plan to bag in the money from the flight by adding the agent in the process had been surfacing and as a response the minister has asked NAC to not release the commission amount for the time being. “There seems to be some concerns regarding the misappropriation of the finance in the recent chartered flight by the Australian Embassy in Nepal so he has sought clarification from the corporation,” a source close to Minister Bhattarai said seeking anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to the media. “The commission to the agent will not be released for the time being.”
The flight was carried out in the request of Australian Embassy to repatriate 250 passengers to their respective countries from Nepal. Bon Travel and Tour, a Kathmandu based travel agency was provided with the responsibility of ticketing of the passengers. It had sold tickets to the passengers scheduled to fly to Brisbane, Australia on April 1. The agent gets 5% commission from the earning of chartered flight. Raising concerns over the financial health of NAC, many had questioned the need of travel agency in the chartered flight. But NAC has stated that the travel agency was asked to handle the ticketing by the Australian Embassy for ease. “The Embassy itself had recommended the agent for the facilitation of its citizens,” said Ganesh Bahadur Chand, managing director at NAC, “The Embassy cannot go around collecting the money from the passengers that is where the agent facilitated.”
“The Embassy in the letter had asked the involvement of travel agency on behalf of Australian Embassy,” he said, adding that the charter agreement was signed in request of the embassy.
He mentioned that Bon Travels is an agent for NAC and the payments to all the agents are accumulatively done at the end of every fiscal year. “It is true that as per the normal practice, the agent needs to be paid 5% as commission but there seems to be some misunderstanding regarding the presence of agent and misappropriation of money as it was done only to facilitate the passengers,” he further added.
NAC had charged US dollar 18,200 per hour for the flight.