Why airfare is so expensive in Nepal?
KATHMANDU: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) recently organised a meeting on the Zoom platform to discuss issues related to tourism promotion with the Nepali ambassadors based in foreign countries.
All the ambassadors during the meeting said that Nepal has not been able to attract a large number of tourists into the country due to expensive airfare.
Various international reports have stated that Nepal’s airfare is so expensive in comparison to other countries.
According to a report published by the Global Travel Search Company in 2018, Nepal’s airfare is expensive in the world. None of the companies has conducted the study related to the airfare since then.
The report said that the airfare of Yeti and Buddha Airlines of Nepal are also too costly. The Yeti Airlines charge US $1.08 per kilometre whereas Buddha Air charge US $ 1.18 per kilometre.
Airlines Operator’s Association of Nepal (AOAN) said that the airfare has not been revised for the past three years.
Dim Prakash Paudel, Executive Director of Nepal Airlines, said that the airfare of international flights is so expensive in comparison to other countries.
Talking to Nepal Press, Paudel said that fuel, ground handling, parking and landing fees at the Kathmandu airport are expensive than other countries. That is why, airfare in Nepal is expensive than other countries in the world.
Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu has been witnessing less number of international airlines due to expensive fuel and operation cost. As a result, the income of airport has also declined.
That is why, the ground handling company and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are compelled to charge extra fees in the service provided to the airlines companies, CAA spokesperson Raj Kumar Chhetri said.
CAA has also admitted that the ground handling, parking and landing fees are expensive in the South Asian countries.
According to Yograj Kandel, spokesperson of Airline Operators Association of Nepal, the price of aviation fuel purchased from the Nepal Oil Corporation is very expensive.
The airfare will be automatically expensive owing to the high cost of aviation fuel, he said.
During the tenure of the then Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai, the Tourism Entrepreneurs Association and Airlines Operators Association and Nepal Airlines had demanded the government to slash the fuel price.
Responding to their demand, the Nepal Oil Corporation slashed the price of aviation fuel by keeping a maximum profit of 15 percent.
The Nepal Oil Corporation has been charging USD 893 per kilo litre before July 7 last year, but now it has been charging USD 715 per kilo litre.
However, the concerned authorities have been saying that the slashed price is not enough.
As Nepal’s aviation fuel is expensive than the international fuel price, no international airlines refuel in Nepal. International airplanes have been bringing fuel from their own country instead of refueling in Nepal.
Meanwhile, when the government was preparing to bring 2 million tourists to Nepal in 2020, various international airline companies had demanded that the price of aviation fuel in Nepal should be reduced.