Nepal and India to Negotiate for Air Connectivity

Nepal prepares for the arrival of a technical delegation from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on June 14, 2018.

With the agenda to meet with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and discuss the cross-border airspace issue that has been pending for the last five years, the team has decided to come down, revealed CAAN.

Both parties will discuss the prospects of three key border routes that Nepal has suggested to India, i.e., Janakpur in the east, Nepalgunj in the mid-west and Mahendranagar in the far west regions.

Speaking about the project, an important CLAN official said, “We don’t know about the mandate that the Indian delegation has been entrusted with by its government, but we are prepared to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) if the discussions yield a positive outcome.”

“If the MoU is signed during this meeting, it will open the door for both sides to conduct a safety assessment of the proposed routes soon,” added the official.

CAAN4A report will be collated after the safety assessment is completed by both nations’ technical and published to the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).

AAI team to Nepal will be led by Anil Kumar Dutta, member of Air Navigation Services (ANS) and board member of AAI.

A Look BackNepal had made a formal proposal to India to open the new cross-border air routes when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kathmandu in 2014. The suggested route with bi-directional or ingoing/outcoming facility will ease the passage of international flights from Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Nijgadh Airports.

Nepal has been in talks with India over cross-border air routes for the past nine years. Simara is the only entrance for most of the flights flying to Nepal and this is an issue of concern for Nepal. In comparison, it has seven exits which include Bhairahawa and Mahendranagar in the west and Simara, Biratnagar, Tumlingtar among others in the east,.