Airline operators submit memorandum to Industry Minister against ban on flights in national park area

Kathmandu: A memorandum has been handed over to Industry Minister Lekhraj Bhatta in protest of the ban on flights by airline operators in the national park area.

On Wednesday, the airline operators handed over a memorandum to Minister Bhatta protesting against the ban on flights to other national parks including the Sagarmatha National Park in Solukhumbu district. The airlines have handed over a memorandum to Minister Bhatta in the ministry and demanded that arrangements be made for the smooth operation of all types of helicopter flights in the protected areas as per the prevailing system.

Stating that the service will be shut down due to lack of funds if the helicopters do not run smoothly, the airline operators have urged Minister Bhatta to take necessary steps to lift the flight ban.

Secretary of the Airline Operators Group Suman Pandey said that the decision taken by the Everest National Park Office has created uncertainty in the helicopter industry. Secretary Suman Pandey said that trying to control the helicopters would affect not only the helicopter industry but also the tourism industry and the economic sector.

He said that the credibility of Nepali tourism sector in foreign markets would be questioned and the helicopter should be allowed to run smoothly.

Understanding the memorandum, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta said that the industry should be run while protecting the national park. Stating that the law should be followed in a balanced manner, he said that he would take initiative to find a long-term solution to prevent the problem by calling everyone in a systematic manner.

In a circular on helicopter landing/hovering regulation issued by the Everest National Park Office, it was decided to suspend helicopter landing regulation or to stop flights and landings at all places except Lukla, Sangboche, and Namche in the area. Helicopter operators and the overall tourism business have been demanding a resumption of the landing, citing the decision.