: Shree Airlines has applied to the authorities for launching short-haul international flights from Kathmandu, prompting the Nepalese government to review and potentially relax rules on the granting of such permits, a Nepalese newspaper reported.
Shree Airlines, which launched fixed-wing operations in August 2017, intends to operate services out of the Nepalese capital to neighbouring India and Bangladesh. The airline has applied for a Class ‘C’ licence which would allow it to operate flights lasting up to three hours.
In order to secure such a licence, airlines currently have to demonstrate a history of at least five years of domestic operations, as well as have a fleet of at least three aircraft. While the application itself costs US$500, the applicant airline also needs to deposit a NPR 5 million security bond and have a paid-up capital of at least NPR 500 million.
The newspaper reported, the Shree Airlines' application has, however, prompted the Nepalese government to consider relaxing these rules in a bid to boost the competitiveness of domestic operators. Although the law stipulates that the rules should be reviewed every three years, the last such review was conducted in 2010.
BB Airways was the last local airline to secure an international licence obtaining one in 2011. It later ceased all operations in 2013.
Shree Airlines has been operating since 2002 and currently holds an international licence for its Mil Helicopter operations. Its fixed-wing fleet consists of two CRJ-200s and one CRJ-700. Shree Airlines uses the aircraft to serve five domestic routes.
According to sources, twenty-nine airlines currently operate a total of 341 weekly international departures out of Kathmandu, the sole international airport in Nepal. The only Nepalese international carriers are Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines which operate a total of fifty-two weekly international departures out of Kathmandu.