Bhutan-Nepal agree to boost air connectivity

Bhutan and Nepal on Friday agreed on a six-point agenda to boost air connectivity and tourism between the two land-locked countries.

Bhutan’s Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications Kinley Dorji and Nepal’s Tourism Ministry Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of their respective governments in Kathmandu to formalise the agendas in the near future.

As per the initial consultation agreement, the two countries have decided to give permanent status to the air service agreement (ASA) signed and revised in different periods. Nepal and Bhutan signed the ASA in February 2004, which had allowed seven weekly flights. It was revised on May 17, 2014, permitting flight frequency to 21 per week.

Likewise, Nepal has agreed Bhutan’s proposal to grant two more traffic frequency on Paro-Kathmandu-Delhi and Delhi-Kathmandu-Paro from existing four per week under the fifth freedom rights.

Nepal denied request from Bhutan for routes—Bagdogra and Bodhgaya of India—to Kathmandu under the fifth freedom traffic rights.

Under Nepal’s request, Bhutan has agreed to offer “beyond rights” facilities for Nepali carriers, or “stopover” traffic where passengers may embark or disembark at an intermediate stop as part of an itinerary between the endpoints of a connecting flights.

The beyond points rights as asked by Nepalese sides are Kathmandu-Paro-Bangkok, Kathmandu-Paro-Naypyidaw, Kathmandu-Paro-Hanoi and Kathmandu-Paro-Phnom Penh.

Two countries also agreed to sign a separate MoU between Tourism authorities to boost tourism by simplifying immigration procedures.

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