Flights between Australia and Nepal soon, says Assistant Foreign Minister Tim WattsThe Australian Assistant Foreign Minister's statement comes amid Nepal preparing to operate services to Australia, four years after signing an air service agreement.
Australia’s Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts said on Tuesday that the proposed flight connectivity between Australia and Nepal would bring the two countries closer and boost bilateral trade and tourism.
Watts’ statement comes amid Nepal Airlines preparing to operate services to Australia, four years after signing an air service agreement.
The Australian Assistant Foreign Minister arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday on a two-day Nepal visit.
During an event held in Patan on Tuesday to hand over a 13th-century wooden tundaal (temple strut) of the Ratneshwar Temple at Sulima Square, Watts said that the new initiative of the possible introduction of direct flights between Australia and Nepal would connect the two countries and its people.
“We’re pleased that we have been able to work with Nepal on climate change, disaster preparedness, and good governance. And we are always interested in new initiatives, like the possible introduction of direct flights between Australia and Nepal. We’re bringing our two countries closer and connecting our peoples,” said Watts, addressing the event.
On April 20, the state-owned carrier invited quotations to provide ground handling and associated services at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.
Nepal Airlines will fly to Sydney on Tuesdays and Fridays with a stopover in Singapore under the fifth freedom rights. The rights allow the airline to pick up or drop off passengers in Singapore when flying either way. Sydney is the largest city in Australia and is home to a large Nepali population.
In October 2019, Nepal and Australia signed an air service agreement in Montreal, Canada opening the way for the operation of commercial air services between the two countries.
The Australian government has permitted seven weekly flights from Nepal to key cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth, and unlimited flights to other destinations in Australia.
The agreement allows Australian carriers to operate seven flights weekly to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, and another 28 weekly services to Bhairahawa and Pokhara.
The pact permits unrestricted cargo movement between the two countries, besides third-country code share with a provision for domestic code share.
On Tuesday’s event, the Australian embassy in Nepal handed the artefacts to the head priest of the Ratneshwar temple, Heramba Raj Rajopahdyay.
Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, handed over the 13th-century wooden tundaal to the head priest amid a ceremony.
The tundaal was stolen from the temple in 1975, which was later acquired by an Australian collector who donated the artefact to the Australian Art Gallery until it was returned to Nepal.