Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has sent a proposal to the cabinet seeking its approval for the revision of air service agreement (ASA) with Bhutan.
Since Bhutan requested the government to revise the bilateral air service agreement as its first private airline Tashi Air – also known as Bhutan Airlines – is planning to connect Kathmandu with Paro.
Earlier, air service agreement between Nepal and Bhutan signed in February 2004 allows Bhutan’s national flag carrier Druk Air to operate seven flights per week between Paro and Kathmandu.
The agreement has allowed single airlines from each country to fly on Kathmandu-Paro route. Buddha Air has been designated to fly to Bhutan and no other Nepali carrier can fly to the destination, whereas Druk Air is allowed to fly to Kathmandu and no other Bhutanese airlines can fly on Kathmandu-Paro route.
The revision will allow multiple designations – meaning allowing more airlines to fly between Kathmandu and Paro – and increase flight frequency, according to the ministry that has been planning to fix signing date with Bhutan after the Cabinet’s approval.
Buddha Air had started commercial flights to Paro – with its 18-seater Beechcraft 1900D as the first international airline to enter Bhutan – on August 23, 2010. But the airlines was forced to cancel its scheduled flights due to some technical problems but operates chartered flights.
Likewise, Tashi Air was launched on December 4, 2011. The airline is a subsidiary of Tashi Group. The airline made its first international flights to India and Thailand on October 10, 2013.