Landing rights at any airport except Haneda, says JapanJapan has said it is ready to provide landing rights to Nepali carriers at all airports except Haneda Airport in Tokyo during discussions over amending the air service agreement (ASA) between the two countries, officials of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry said.
Japan has said it is ready to provide landing rights to Nepali carriers at all airports except Haneda Airport in Tokyo during discussions over amending the air service agreement (ASA) between the two countries, officials of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry said.
Haneda is more desirable because it is just 15 km from Tokyo, compared to some 65 km for Narita International Airport.
The move to amend the two-and-a-half-decade-old ASA follows the national flag carrier’s plan to spread its wings to Japan. Nepal Airlines wants to start services to Japan after receiving two long-range Airbus A330 jets due to be delivered by May and June respectively this year.
“We have received the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) from Japan, and we will be sending our comments after holding necessary discussions,” said Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the ministry. “The draft MoU has specifically clarified that Japan will not be able to grant landing rights at Haneda. It may be due to congestion.”
Haneda Airport, the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Japan, is the fifth busiest airport in the world.
On Sunday, the ministry held discussions with Nepal Airlines Corporation and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) over the draft before sending its comments. The Japanese side has proposed granting seven weekly flights while Nepal has asked for 14 weekly flights.
The Japanese government also appears to be somewhat rigid on fifth freedom rights, third country code-share accords and air fares.
The draft MoU is a formal basis for negotiations. Normally, after both countries come to an agreement, the formal date for negotiations and signing the deal is confirmed, said Acharya.
NAC had wanted to begin services to Tokyo, but the ASA between Nepal and Japan only allows it to fly to Kansai International Airport in Osaka. On February 26, NAC invited proposals from potential ground handling service providers at Kansai.
The Tourism Ministry moved to revise the ASA with Japan to permit Nepali carriers to fly to other Japanese cities. Apart from NAC, several private carriers like Buddha Air have planned to serve Japan to bring high-end tourists to Nepal.
Nepal and Japan signed the ASA in 1993 allocating 400 weekly seats. The national flag carrier used to fly to Osaka via Shanghai until 2008 when it was forced to suspend the route due to lack of aircraft.
A Nepal Air Traffic Analysis conducted by Airbus in 2015 has forecast a traffic growth of 77 percent in five years from nearly 48,000 one-way travellers from Japan to Nepal. Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport account for 68 percent of the traffic from Japan to Nepal. The country received 27,326 Japanese tourists last year.