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Airline firms start parking planes in airports outside Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal’s new rules requiring airline companies to park their aircrafts and conduct their first flight of the day from their designated operating bases came into effect from Monday.

Under the rules, the airlines parked their planes at specified airports outside the Kathmandu Valley, including Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Chandragadhi, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Manthali, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara and Surkhet, on Monday night and took off from the same locations on Tuesday morning.

Private airliners had earlier expressed their disagreement with the rule and had announced a suspension of all domestic flights last Tuesday. However, they were forced to backtrack in a matter of hours after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) threatened strict action against anyone illegally interrupting services in a sector deemed essential by the government.

According to CAAN, this rule was introduced to relieve some of the pressure at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) which only has the capacity to hold 17 domestic planes in its parking. And after their initial opposition, private carriers have now agreed to abide by it, informed Yog Raj Kandel, spokesperson for the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN).

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