Flights between Nepal, India to resume from next week under ‘air bubble’ concept, say officials

Aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation parked at Tribhuvan International Airport.

Kathmandu (ANI): Stalled for nearly nine months, flights between Kathmandu and New Delhi are set to resume from next week under the “air bubble” concept, government officials confirmed.

Flight connection between Nepal and India’s capital will resume from next week once preparations are completed, Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, the Joint Secretary at Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, confirmed.

“We will send a positive response to the air bubble concept that India sent through the diplomatic channel to the ministry regarding the date of operating the flights. After this, the airlines of both countries will be asked to make the necessary preparations to resume the flights. It will take a maximum of 10 days, starting Tuesday,” Mr Lamichhane told news agency ANI.

Accepting the proposal of India for air bubble, only two flights will be operated between India and Nepal’s capital in the first phase of the planned resumption.

“One airline each from Nepal and India will operate flights between Kathmandu and New Delhi. The two countries can increase the number of flights as deemed necessary later,” Mr Lamichhane added.

A meeting of Council of Ministers on November 25 had decided to accept the proposal floated by India. Furthermore, the meeting also decided to grant authority to Nepal’s MoCTCA (Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation) to grant permission for the same.

“The flights will be operated after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulatory body, together with India’s aviation agency, prepares the flight standards,” Joint Secretary at MoCTCA explained further.

Although Nepal decided to resume international flights on September 1, nearly after six months of its suspension in wake of COVID-19 pandemic, flights to three destinations in India – New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore – are yet to resume owing to the increasing rate of coronavirus infection.