Customs dispute grounds aircraft and helicopters, jeopardizing tourism season

Kathmandu: In a protracted customs dispute, six aircraft and four helicopters have been rendered inoperable, causing significant disruptions just as the tourism season is set to commence. The impasse, originating from a clash between the Department of Customs (DoC) and an airline operator over customs duties on imported spare parts, has persisted for nearly two months.

The air service operators contend that a one percent duty should apply uniformly to all aircraft spare parts. Conversely, the DoC insists that only one percent should be levied on items explicitly outlined by the Financial Act and the World Customs Organization, with other parts subject to standard customs duties.

This disagreement has resulted in a two-month standoff at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), causing an accumulation of spare parts and subsequent grounding of aircraft and helicopters due to maintenance delays.