Nepal reopens international flights

KATHMANDU, 31 May 2021: Nepal will approve limited flights from China, Qatar and Turkey starting in early June, according to a government directive Kathmandu Post reported last week.

During May, localised lockdowns and restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 forced the closure of Kathmandu airport to international commercial flights.

The airport is due to reopen for the first international services today, 31 May starting with a few essential flights between Kathmandu and New Delhi in India.

Limited regional flights will be the first to resume starting 1 June. The country continues to suspend all domestic flights to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Nepal is experiencing a deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and several countries have banned travel to the Himalayan nation.

According to aviation officials quoted in a report by Kathmandu Post, flights could begin as early as 7 June from China, Qatar and Turkey. All of the fights will be for repatriation or traveller on official business trips. Quoted fares are more than triple the level during the pre-Covid-19 era.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal director general Rajan Pokhrel said services would be limited to just two flights a week from China and Qatar. Turkish Airlines has permission to fly a weekly service from Istanbul to Kathmandu for medical relief, cargo uplift and Nepalese returning home.

At the end of last week, Nepal reported 6,951 Covid-19 related deaths and 5,42,253 cases.

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