India, Nepal agree to review Air Service Agreement

     India and Nepal signed here a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for review of Air Service Agreement (ASA) and a technical accord. As per the understanding reached between the delegation from the two countries, the weekly seat capacity has been increased to 30,000 from the existing 6,000. This step can safely be expected to give a whole new boost to tourism as well as trade between the two countries. Three new points have been granted to Nepal, namely Dehra Dun, Gorakhpur and Bagdogra and for India, Pokhara, Lumbini, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Janakpur, Dhangadi and Bhairahawa. However, within their overall capacity entitlements, the designated airlines of Nepal shall be entitled to operate not exceeding 10,000 seats per week to/from Mumbai and Bangalore each and not exceeding 15,000 seats per week to/from Delhi. This restriction will become null and void from January 1, 2011. Regarding the revised route schedule, the Nepali delegation stated that barring Kathmandu, there is no other airport in Nepal which is suitable for operation of international flights. The designated airlines of each party shall be entitled to operate any number of all-cargo services between each other's territory with any type of aircraft with full 3rd, 4th and 5th freedom traffic rights. Such all-cargo services may also be operated under co-operative marketing arrangements such as code sharing blocked space. The delegations took note of the Technical Co-operation Agreement signed between the Airports Authority of India and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Both sides agreed to take further action for implementation of this Agreement. The Indian side reiterated its request that permission for the deployment of sky marshals on the flights operated by the designated airlines of India to/from Nepal may be expedited. The Nepal side took note of the request and informed that the matter had already been referred to the appropriate authority of the Government of Nepal. The Nepal side will pursue the matter. This Memorandum of Understanding shall super cede all previous arrangements to the extent applicable and shall come into force with immediate effect. The Indian delegation was led by M. Madhavan Nambiar, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Nepal side was led by Nagendra Prasad Ghimire, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

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