Planes flying with empty seats

The government flag carrier Nepal Airlines flying with 50 seats empty its Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong flights in order to same weight so that the aircraft can carry extra fuel since Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has stopped refueling services at Kathmandu Airport after the fuel blockage from India.

The national flag carrier mentioned that it had been forced to offload 15 passenger on its Airbus A320 flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Likewise, most foreign carriers serving Nepal have been offloading at least 25 passengers per flight after the tough decision made by the government to conserve jet fuel stocks amid a deepening fuel crisis.

“Since September 30, we have been putting fewer passenger on our inbound flights,” said Ram Hari Sharma. Nepal Airlines has been refueling its jets at Delhi and Kolkata airports.

“The extra fuel we have been carrying by offloading passengers is enough to fulfill our needs only.” He added that the corporation was losing $10,000 on each flight as a result of the measure.

The October-November period is the peak season for airlines due to the festival rush in Nepal which coincides with the tourist season.

Airline officials said that inbound flights on theMiddle east and Malaysia sectors were almost 90 percent booked for October.

As per to Bharat Kumar Shrestha, president of the Airlines operators Committee, the situation has been worsening as airlines have been incurring financial looses and the government seems to have no immediate plan to end the crisis.

“Offloading 25-30 passenger on a single flights is a huge loss. Besides, airlines have to pay extra landing charges when making refueling stops at different airports in India and Bangladesh.”

Shrestha said that if the jet fuel problem was not resolved immediately, international airlines think maintaining their Nepal services.

This year foreign airlines connecting Nepal suffered the biggest business loosses. On March 4, a Turkish Airlines jet crashed at TIA which closed down the airport for four consecutive days. At least 6,000 passengers were affected by the accident that occurred at the country’s sole international airport.

Subsequently, the nation was rattled by the April 25 earthquake.

International airlines were forced to cut more than 60 percent of their flights to Nepal due to a drop in travellers movement in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Five months after the disaster, just as airlines were to resume normal flights, the fuel shortage sent everything haywire.

Except for China Southern Airlines, none of them has cancelled their Nepal flights. “But if the fuel problem is not resolved soon, other airlines could suspend their Nepal services too as they wouldn’t want to continue with a loss-making operation.” Shrestha said

Source: ekantiur news


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