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Domestic passengers’ movement at TIA drop down sharply

TIA, file photo
TIA, file photo.

KATHMANDU, Nepal-Domestic passenger movement through Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has dropped down by 3.60 percent in the first six months of 2013. Airline officials blamed reduced tourist movement from India for the decline in passenger flow.

With the airlines failed to receive the expected number of Indian tourists, domestic passenger movement through Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) dropped 3.60 percent in the first six months of 2013, airlines officials said.

‘Airlines did not receive whooping number of Indian tourists this year,’ an official at Sita airlines said.  In the previous year’s large numbers of Indian tourists used to visit Nepal. The April-June period usually sees the highest number of travelers from India in the previous year.

‘Scores Indian tourist had visited Pokhara, Chitwan, Kurintar, Muktinath among other tourist hub places of country, but this year their movement is certainly discouraging, told Bharat Shram,’ manager of Spritual Travel and Tour Company at Thamel.

Though a whooping number of Nepal’s north neighbor are being increased each day, their arrival has not satisfied Nepali travel and tourism sectors since Chinese do not like to fly in Nepal.

Mountain flights and flights to flights to pokhara used to receive a large number of Chinese tourists’, Sharma said, ‘however due to frequent air crashes in Nepal, Chinese tourists opted to travel by surface routes.

In the meantime, improved weight provision imposed by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) after the Sita Air crash has lead to cut the number of passengers they can carry.

The CAAN has specified that the maximum weight of a foreign passenger, which was fixed at 75 kg, has been revised to 90 kg while the weight for a Nepali passenger has been determined at 75 kg from 70 kg.

‘This specification imposed by CAAN has forced small aircraft to reduce their load by three foreign passenger,’ an official at Yeti airlines said.

Likewise increased fuel price has added extra woes to the airlines as airfares have gone up by Rs 2,000 on long-haul routes and Rs 500-700 on short-haul sectors.

Carriers hiked the fuel surcharge by 8-10 percent from Thursday following the latest hike in fuel prices by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). The September-November is the peak business season for domestic carriers with the Dashain and Tihar festival coinciding with the tourists’ season.

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