The Chinese government has assured that it will open air entry routes for Nepali air carriers to China. Chinese Minister for Culture Luo Shugang has assured of increasing the number of flights between the two countries and also opening the door for Nepali airline companies to fly to the northern neighbour by February next year.
Chinese Culture Minister Luo arrived in the Capital today on a four-day visit. The Chinese delegation and officials of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation are currently holding discussions on opening air routes for Nepali airlines to China, reconstructing various historical places and other areas of cooperation between the two nations.
“The Chinese team has agreed to open air routes for Nepali carriers to fly to China and domestic carriers will soon be allowed to fly to various Chinese destinations,” informed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari.
Nepal and China had signed a revised bilateral air services agreement (ASA) on February 25, 2014. Both the countries had agreed to operate 56 flights per week through any type of aircraft on a reciprocal basis. Moreover, the revised pact also had a provision whereby an additional seven flights per week could be added from 2016 if needed.
The revised agreement had also given unlimited traffic rights for cargo-only flights through any type of aircraft. It had also permitted bilateral and third-party code sharing by carriers of the two countries. But till date, all the aforementioned options and facilities are being utilised by Chinese airline companies only.
In the previous ASA signed in 2003, Chinese airlines were allowed to operate two flights a day to Nepal. Nepali carriers at present are permitted to fly to six different points in China — Chengdu, Lhasa, Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
According to Minister Adhikari, the Chinese government has also agreed to support the ‘Visit Nepal 2020’ campaign. As per the agreement, the Chinese government will advise outbound travellers from China to visit Nepal. Discussions are also being held to extend cultural ties between the two neighbours.
“We have also agreed to allow climbers who summit Mt Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Choyu from either side to climb down from the other side in coordination with the The Great Himalayan Trail promotion programme,” informed Adhikari. “This is a new development and we hope it will help further promote tourism in the country.”
Moreover, the Chinese delegation has also made a commitment to support the reconstruction of the Nuwakot Durbar.