Foreign airlines asked not to refuel in NepalForeign carriers will not be provided refuelling facilities at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) from Tuesday afternoon onwards as the jet fuel crisis is likely to deepen.
Foreign carriers will not be provided refuelling facilities at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) from Tuesday afternoon onwards as the jet fuel crisis is likely to deepen on the heels of the unofficial trade embargo imposed by India.
The tough decision was made on Monday in a move to keep the existing stock of jet fuel-aviation turbine fuel (ATF)-intact, as the existing stock is only enough to fulfil the demand for less than seven days. Furthermore, TIA officials say that the move will allow the domestic airlines to fly for a little bit longer.
The airport authorities on Monday sent a notice to foreign airlines flying the Nepal sector that the cutbacks would come into effect by 12 noon on Tuesday.
TIA officials have said that the tough decision was taken in response to requests made to them by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
The government had on Saturday requested all foreign airlines to refuel their tanks in ports abroad and to carry enough return fuel when flying into Nepal, because the Nepali government could not predict when the fuel shortage would end.
The decision to preserve Nepal’s fuel stocks is likely to affect all airlines using narrow-body jets on long-haul routes, said the officials.
Owing to the festive season in Nepal, most airlines flying narrow-body aircraft are flying at full passenger and cargo-load capacities, and they will thus be hit hard. However, airlines flying wide-body aircraft, except for Turkish Airlines and Korean Air, will not be affected as much by the decision.
Industry insiders say that a few airlines have started to find alternative airports to refuel their tanks before arriving in Kathmandu.
Korean Air and Dragon Air have planned to, for example, touch down in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Turkish Airlines and Air Arabia plan to touch down in New Delhi and Lucknow, respectively.
For airlines flying the cross-border international sector or the short-haul sector—between Nepal and destinations like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China—the government, on Saturday, had requested the airlines to fill their fuel tanks to maximum capacity in their respective takeoff points of origin, so that they don’t need to refuel at TIA.