KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has provided licence to operate self ground-handling services to Himalaya Airlines.
So far Nepal Airlines Corporation had been assigned the responsibility of ground-handling at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Prior to this, only Air India and Thai Airways were allowed to operate self ground-handling services but from now onward Himalaya Airlines will also be able to look after its ground-handling activities at TIA with its own equipment and human resources.
Self ground-handling licence is provided to only those airline companies that operate at least 35 flights a week and the licence must be renewed every year based on the flight numbers. As per CAAN, Himalaya Airlines has been operating more than 35 flights a week in recent times.
Himalaya Airlines had been operating chartered flights during the lockdown period and currently it is also operating regular flights to its scheduled destinations. Currently, it flies to seven destinations, including Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dhaka, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Guiyang with its fleet of three A320-214 series of narrow-body aircraft.
The ground-handling services include activities like taking passengers off the plane, providing bus service to ferry them from the plane to the terminal building and vice versa, managing the baggage of passengers from the aircraft to the baggage retrieval area, ticketing and other services related to passengers.
Now that Himalaya Airlines has received the permission for self ground-handling services it will not have pay the ground-handling service charge to NAC. As a result, NAC’s income will definitely take a hit. In fiscal year 2018-19, NAC had earned Rs 4.28 billion from providing ground-handling services.
Even in fiscal 2019-20, NAC had a target to earn around Rs 5.16 billion, however, due to the COV- ID-19 pandemic it was able to earn only Rs 2.78 billion from ground handling services.
A version of this article appears in print on September 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.