Nepal and Australia have signed an Air Service Agreement on Monday – the agreement permits Nepali carriers to operate seven flights a week to key Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth). Australian carriers will also be allowed to operate seven flights a week to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.
The ASA, Nepal’s first with Australia was signed by Suresh Acharya, Secretary of Nepal’s Ministry for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and Jim Holf, Executive Director of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Urban and Regional, Australia on the sidelines of the 40th session of the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly being held in Montreal, Canada.
The agreement also permits Australian carriers 28 flights a week to other Nepali international airports such as Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairawaha and Pokhara International Airport once their construction is complete. Similarly, Nepalese carriers will also be allowed to fly to other regional airports of Australia.
According to reports, an estimated 100,000 passengers fly annually between the two nations – a market which Nepali carriers will be able to capitalise upon after the implementation of the ASA. Since Nepal Airline’s newly acquired wide-bodied jets will be unable to make a direct flight to Australia, they are looking to to enter into a third party code share agreement. For the purpose, Nepal is looking to make the Chinese city of Guangzhou a transit point.
The possibility of a Nepali carrier landing in an Australian airport has made the Nepali community in Australia excited. When asked, several community members said they would be willing to fly Nepal Airlines during their next trip home.