Nepal to lift ban on international flights as Covid cases decline

Kathmandu, Jul 7 (EFE).- Nepal authorities on Wednesday announced the resumption of domestic and international passenger flights, as coronavirus cases have shown a downward trend in the country.

“We received the decision’s copy on Wednesday. A meeting has been planned on Thursday to officially issue circulations for international airline companies about the latest government decision,” tourism ministry joint secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane told EFE.

“But flights have to follow health safety protocols,” he insisted.

Lamichhane said domestic airlines would be able to operate flights at full capacity from Sunday.

Nepal had banned domestic flights on May 3 and international routes from the midnight of May 6, citing the risks associated with a second Covid-19 wave in the Himalayan nation.

The ban was partially lifted on Jun. 21, when a limited number of scheduled international flights were allowed to some countries at half of their capacity.

The general manager of Turkish Airlines in Kathmandu, Abdullah Tuncer Kececi, told EFE that the firm is set to operate three weekly flights on the Kathmandu-Istanbul route.

Turkish Airlines is the only airline connecting Nepal with Europe, and has currently been operating two services per week.

However, the international connections on offer for passengers depend on other countries’ regulations.

The deputy manager, sales for the China Southern Airlines in Nepal, Dhiraj Shrestha, told EFE that the firm had no immediate plans to resume flights “as the Covid-19 caseloads in Nepal are still at a risky level.”

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