Airlines to operate only half of domestic flights todayMore than 50 percent of domestic flights will not take off on Friday after being denied enough fuel by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Thursday.
More than 50 percent of domestic flights will not take off on Friday after being denied enough fuel by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Thursday.
The NOC informed the airline operators about their inability to provide adequate fuel after the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) did not airlift aviation fuel on Thursday.
“The number of flights will depend on the quantity of fuel the NAC would bring in,” said Pradip Kumar Yadav, in-charge of NOC aviation fuel depot.
As there is still a few amount of fuel stock in Dhangadhi, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Biratnagar airports, the airlines will not have to cut all their flights. “Those aircraft that were provided fuel on Thursday at the Kathmandu’s airport will be flying on Friday,” Yadav added.
Meanwhile, the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) said that the flights would be affected unless the NOC provides them enough fuel. It has advised travellers, with flight bookings, to coordinate with their respective airlines before reaching the airport.
In the wake of the NOC decision to raise the price of aviation fuel on November 9, domestic airlines hiked fuel surcharge by Rs1,725 to Rs4,455.
The state-owned oil monopoly doubled the price of aviation fuel to the domestic carriers, charging Rs232.78 per litre up from Rs118. It has cited that aviation fuel has to be flown in due to an unofficial trade blockade by India.
As fuel accounts for 30-35 percent of the airlines’ operating costs, carriers are compelled to raise fuel surcharge to avoid huge losses, they argue.
Airlines officials have reported a sharp drop in passenger movement after the hike in fuel surcharge. Nepal’s domestic air passenger movement has shrunk by 6 percent over the past three years, mainly due to high fares. The airlines had recorded a 13 percent growth in 2008, followed by a robust 33 percent in 2009 as they cut fares amid low fuel costs and stiff competition. Although the passenger movement increased by 12.83 percent in 2010, the growth rate started to dip in 2011 and it has shown a negative growth since 2012.