Tourism Minister grills CAAN DG over decision of 'safe ground handling' to Himalaya Airlines

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Kathmandu - Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai has directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to not implement the decision to permit 'safe ground handling' facility to the Himalaya Airlines. Minister Bhattarai garnered information about the permission granted to the Himalaya Airlines.

The Minister invited Director General at CAAN Rajan Pokharel at his office and directed Pokhrel not to implement the decision for the time being, according to the high-placed source. The Minister is learnt to have communicated to DG Pokhrel that the technical capacity, commercial proposal, human resources and other aspects would be studied before taking decision.

Pokhrel is further reminded that the high level leadership at the Ministry must be informed while taking any important decision. Secretary at the Tourism Ministry, Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, also attended the meeting. The Minister further directed DG Pokhrel to study whether other airlines are also enjoying ground handling facility without meeting criteria.

If so, their facility should be lifted and given to the Nepal Airlines, the Minister viewed. There was a news report in media that CAAN conferred the safe ground handling facility to the Himalaya Airlines. The sources further said the Air India and Thai Airways have been enjoying the safe ground handling without meeting criteria.

According to CAAN's Ground Handling Directive, 2072, only the airlines conducting 35 flights in a week at Tribhuvan International Airport can be allowed for the ground handling facility. The Himalaya Airlines has got the permission of 45 flights in a week. Meanwhile, the CAAN issued a press release and showed concern over the news report that Himalaya Airlines was permitted the ground handling facility.

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National News Agency, Nepal

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