Kathmandu airport to cut landing, parking fees

The government of Nepal is planning to slash landing, parking and ground handling fees at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport by 25 per cent for a year for new airlines coming to Nepal, a move it hopes will attract more international carriers.

Foreign airlines have also been complaining about the high charges at the airport compared to other regional airports, said an official in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. "If new international airlines come to Nepal, they will enjoy the facility for the first year of operation," he added.

The proposal has already been forwarded to the cabinet. The 25 per cent concession is also an effort to lure more airlines to Nepal, so that the tourism industry could get a boost and air ticket shortages would end.

Expensive ground handling, landing and parking fees have led airlines like Austrian and Martin Air, which used to directly connect Nepal with Europe, to terminate their operations. Now that the insurgency has ended, foreign airlines find Nepal a lucrative destination in terms of traffic.

Four airlines — Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airlines, Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silk Air, the Hong Kong-based Dragon Air, and Orient Thai Airlines — are in the process of launching flights to Nepal, and these will be the first beneficiaries of the government's new plan.