KATHMANDU - Nepal's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has made public a one-month schedule for regular and chartered international flights starting from Sept 2, nearly six months after international flights were suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, according to the ministry, only Nepalis getting special permission from the Nepali government to come to Nepal, foreign diplomats and employees at foreign diplomatic missions in Nepal, representatives and employees of United Nations offices and development partners of Nepal, can enter Nepal from some selected countries and regions on these flights.
As per the flight schedule released by the ministry on Tuesday, one Nepali airline and one foreign airline have been allowed to conduct one international flight respectively on the first day of flight resumption.
The Nepal Airlines, Nepal's national flag carrier, has been allowed to fly on Kathmandu-Narita (Japan) route while Malaysia's Malindo Air has been allowed to fly on Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route on Sept 2.
The flight schedule has been arranged for the entire September month.
During the period, foreign airlines have been allowed to conduct 29 regular flights between Kathmandu and cities of various countries and regions.
Likewise, the Nepal Airlines and the Himalayan Airlines, Nepal's two international airlines, have been allowed to conduct 17 and 12 international flights respectively.
Similarly, various Nepali and foreign airlines have been allowed to conduct 27 chartered flights on different routes in September, as per the notice issued by Nepal's tourism ministry.
The Nepali government has suspended regular international flights since March 22 and it has allowed chartered flights only for humanitarian purpose and the delivery of medical goods.
Nepal's cabinet on Aug. 20 decided to resume scheduled international flights from September.
Only those who test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before boarding would be allowed to board the plane as per the protocol prepared by the ministry.
A senior official at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) said that the airport authority was prepared to deal with the arrivals of the Nepalis and foreigners through both regular and chartered flights by adopting necessary safety measures.
TIA General Manager Debendra K.C. told Xinhua on Tuesday evening that health workers, security personnel and aviation staff to be assigned in the front desk would be using personal protective equipment (PPE) and other protective gear while dealing with the passengers.
"Adequate safety measures have been taken," said K.C. "That's why none of the TIA staff has contracted with Coronavirus even though they cleared more than 72,000 passengers travelling on the chartered flights since Nepal imposed nationwide lockdown March 24," K.C. said.
The lockdown enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 lasted till July 21.