KATHMANDU: Nepal on Wednesday announced easing travel restrictions imposed amid surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Nepal is set to reopen international flights from Thursday (June 24) while the domestic flights would resume from July 1, its Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation announced. A cabinet meeting on Tuesday authorised the Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry to decide the dates for the reopening of Nepali airspace for flights.
“We have decided to reopen international flights from Thursday while the domestic flights would need to wait for a week till the end of this month. From first of July, the domestic carriers would be flying, we decided to start it a week late so that they can make all the necessary preparations,” Spokesperson at the Civil Aviation Ministry Taranath Adhikari told ANI.
Ministry also has published the schedule for the month of June for international flights where the ministry has stated that COVID-19 health protocol should be followed strictly.
“Health Protocols should be followed strictly before, during and after the flight. All these will be monitored and evaluated by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). For domestic flights, the service providers should run on half of the capacity,” the official added.
Once open, the domestic carriers will be back in the air after a gap of 60 days. Earlier in 2020, Nepal had shut its domestic flights for 179 days which was reopened on phase wise manner.
On Tuesday, according to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, domestic flights were to be allowed to operate with 50 per cent seat occupancy to help contain the possible spread of COVID-19, while international flights were to be operated as per the safety protocol developed earlier by the government.
The government has also decided to resume regular international flights to and from Kathmandu in limited destinations.
With the new decisions in place, Nepal Airlines and Qatar Airways will be allowed to operate two flights each a week in the Kathmandu-Doha sector.
Similarly, the government has decided to allow four flights a week in the Kathmandu-Doha sector, Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur sector, two flights a week in the Kathmandu-Istanbul sector, Kathmandu-Dammam and Kathmandu-Kuwait sectors.
Among other sectors, the government has allowed operating of one flight a week in Kathmandu-Muscat, Kathmandu- Seoul, Kathmandu-Japan, Kathmandu-Chengdu and Kathmandu-Guangzhou sectors.
Nepal had decided to halt all domestic flights from midnight of May 3, and all international flights from midnight of May 6 except for two weekly flights on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector.
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