CAAN waives fees for international flights at Gautam Buddha International Airport

CAAN waives fees for international flights at Gautam Buddha International Airport

By Laxman Paudel Rising Nepal

Bhairahawa, May 27: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has decided to provide various facilities to foreign airlines flying in and out of the newly-inaugurated Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA). The aviation regulatory body has introduced a policy to provide different facilities for a period of one year to attract foreign airline companies to the nation’s second international airport.

Govinda Prasad Dahal, general manager of the GBIA, informed that CAAN had decided to waive landing, security, communication and aviation service fees for foreign planes. “This is a special concession provided to international airlines to land and park here,” he said.

Usually, aeroplanes are charged these fees based on their weight. The aircraft that Jazeera Airways uses for its flights to this airport located in Bhairahawa weighs 78,000 kilograms. With the implementation of these concessions, the Kuwaiti airline, which is currently the only international airline flying to and from GBIA, stands to save Rs. 100,000 per landing, Dahal shared.

Dahal hoped that these waivers would attract other airlines to the airport as well. Many flight operators from the Gulf and Buddhist-majority countries have expressed interest to fly to GBIA, which came into operation on May 16. However, none have actually begun services.

Nevertheless, General Manager Dahal is hopeful. “I believe the airport will be hosting 10 to 15 international flights per day by Dashain,” he said. Recalling that carriers from Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Oman had held discussions with airport authorities a month ago, Dahal said, “These airlines might get the necessary permits within a few months.”

Spokesperson for CAAN Deo Chandra Lal Karna told The Rising Nepal that while many companies had contacted the Authority about flying to Bhairahawa, none had presented a formal written proposal. “Many of the international airlines currently flying to Nepal have got in touch with us though,” he said.

Aiming to cater to migrant workers and Buddhist pilgrims

GBIA aims to cater to workers flying out of Nepal for foreign employment and pilgrims coming to Nepal to visit the birthplace of Gautam Buddha in Lumbini. “Accordingly, airlines from Gulf and Buddhist nations have approached us to operate flights,” Dahal shared. Particularly, Saudi Arabia’s Air Arabia has begun preparing for it, he said.

Shyam Kishor Shah, acting director of GBIA, said that Air Arabia had begun looking at the possibility of market expansion and had been discussing flight operations with various Nepali travel agencies.

Airport officials believe that the number of passengers travelling through GBIA will also increase if provisions are made to issue labour permits from the province. Presently, Jazeera carries an average of 50 passengers per flight.