Simrik Airlines reumes opsSimrik Airlines returned to the air on Thursday after being grounded for 10 days due to the expiry of its flying licence.
Simrik Airlines returned to the air on Thursday after being grounded for 10 days due to the expiry of its flying licence.
On August 15, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) had grounded all the aircraft of the carrier after its failure to renew the licence for the last 15 months.
Prajwol Thapa, chief of the airline’s marketing and sales department, they resumed the operations on Thursday noon after renewing the licence.
As the Tourism Ministry officials, including its secretary Prem Kumar Rai, refused to renew the licence, the issue was last week forwarded to the Cabinet, seeking a political-level settlement. A Cabinet meeting on Tuesday gave a go-ahead for the licence renewal. And, following the ministry’s clearance, the Caan on Wednesday renewed the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of the airline.
Domestic airlines must renew their licenses every four years. They are also given an additional one year to renew the permit after its expiry. To initiate the fresh process, an airline should pay Rs30,000 for each route it flies. Besides, it has to show a bank guarantee of Rs2 million and should have a paid-up capital of Rs20 million.
Simrik’s fleet consist of four fixed-wing aircraft—two Dornier and two Beechcraft. It flies on sectors like Pokhara, Jomsom, Bhairahawa, Lukla and Simara from its hub in Kathmandu.
Issuing a statement, the airline extended its apology to passengers for the inconvenience. The airline said the operation was grounded not because of any issue in safety standards but because of its own administrative error and other lapses. “It has caused inconvenience to our loyal travellers. We assure that such mistake will not repeat again,” it said.
Nepal’s domestic air passenger movement continued to shrink for four straight years, dropping 5.96 percent in 2015, as a series of disasters struck the country denting travel demand. According to the data of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), domestic carriers received 86,510 less flyers last year. These airlines carried 1.36 million passengers in 2015 against 1.45 million the year before.
Simrik Airlines saw its passenger numbers plunge by 43.83 percent to 46,132 last year.