Efforts are underway to ensure a direct flight between Nepal and Australia, it has been said. A bilateral agreement to this was signed on October 2.
Data shows that around 150 thousand Nepalis currently reside in Australia and in the absence of direct flight, those Nepali communities and tourists leaving here for a Nepal visit are forced to endure several transit routes.
According to data issued by the Sydney Airport, the arrival of passengers from Kathmandu to Sydney has reached 121,260 so far this year which is the largest number when it comes to those nations lacking a direct flight connection to Sydney.
As said by engineer Raju Adhikari who has been working for the Australia-based civil aviation providing company, the service would be meaningful as people en route other destinations of Australia will use this route if a direct flight is ensured.
Some local air providers have expressed their concerns about the Kathmandu direct flight. Australian airline companies are reported not to have operated flights through Indian routes. Nepal Airlines, the flag carrier of Nepal, has conducted a feasibility study of a direct flight between Nepal and Sidney. The distance between Kathmandu and Sidney is approximately 10,000 kilometers.
Constant discussions are underway on various technical aspects of the project following an agreement, said Nepal's ambassador to Australia, Mahesh Raj Dahal. On January 7, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai said in this regard, he was taking initiatives in meetings with high officials.
Apart from having impacts on Nepal's tourism, Nepalis living in surrounding areas of Sydney like Canberra, Goulbourn, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo would benefit from this direct flight, said Chuda Mani Sapkota, Vice President of the Non-Resident Nepali Association, Australia. For this, NRNA was positive about extending help, he added.