August 23, 2017
Nepal is getting closer to finalizing an agreement with Australia in the Civil Aviation sector.
In a recent update, officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Nepal informed that the Australian Government responded positively to Nepal’s draft Air Service Agreement (ASA) and has also sent its feedback on the same.
“We are preparing to send our views to Australia. Once both sides agree on a common agenda, the draft will be tabled at the Cabinet for its approval to sign ASA. Negotiations will begin after the Cabinet’s clearance,” informed Pramod Nepal, Under-Secretary, MoCA.
According to Nepali officials, the new deal would be based on ‘the principal place of business’ rather than the traditional ‘principle of airline substantial ownership’. In many countries, flight operation permit is granted to an airline company only if it has majority of its shareholders from the country it is based in.
Third country code-share agreement, fifth freedom traffic rights, multiple designations, free pricing and unrestricted cargo are among proposals made by Nepal in its air proposal to Australia.
The Nepali Ministry had requested the Government of Australia (GoA) to allow 14 weekly flights with any type of aircraft, to which, GoA said it will permit only seven weekly flights to its key destinations such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. “It has proposed providing unlimited flights for other destinations,” said the Nepali officials.
The Airbus’ Nepal Air Traffic Analysis report 2015 terms Australia as an emerging market for Nepal with the preferred route through Malaysia. The year 2014 saw 41,000 one-way travellers between Australia and Nepal.
North America, Japan and the UK are other emerging markets for Nepal besides Australia for the next 20 years.
According to the Under-Secretary Nepal, the number of Nepali students flying to Australia and Australian tourists coming to Nepal has been rising.