March 11: The fear of coronavirus has resulted in 20 percent reduction of flights at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) while the number of passengers has reduced by 50 percent.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) informed New Business Age that international airline companies have started reducing the number of flights to TIA as the deadly virus spreads across the globe.
Altogether 28 airline companies operate international flights to Nepal. CAAN insists that 80 percent of flights are still taking place despite a significant decrease in the number of passengers.
“Although the international flights have decreased by 20 percent, the number of passengers has reduced by almost half,” said Rajkumar Chhetri, spokesperson of CAAN.
Chhetri said that no country can impose a ban on international flights as per the international practice. But the airliners can adjust the number of flights considering the flow of passengers.
He further said that the flights to and from countries affected by coronavirus have been affected while the other flights have not been affected much by the epidemic.
According to Chhetri, the TIA used to have between 100 to 110 flights a day during this season of last year. That has now reduced to 80-85 flights per day.
The flow of passengers has reduced to 5500 per day from 11,000 a year ago.
Most of the flights to China have been suspended while other flights are taking place as per the schedule. The number of flights to China has reduced to 10 from 60 per week at present compared to the corresponding period of last year.
TIA informed that Nepal Airlines Corporation and Himalaya Airlines have suspended their flights to Doha from Tuesday. The decision comes after Qatar banned visitors from 14 countries including Nepal in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Gulf nation.
However, Qatar Airways has been operating three flights a day to Nepal.