The government has extended Nepal Airlines Corporation’s (NAC) contract for ground handling services at the Tribhuvan International Airport for the next two years.

Nepal Airlines Corporation and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) signed the commercial ground handling agreement today after the previous agreement came to an end on February 11.

However, NAC has been given the contract to provide ground handling services to all foreign airlines except for Thai Airways and Indian Airlines.

Ground handling services that includes ramp services, passenger handling and cargo handling, is the main source of income of the national flag carrier as the airliner has no aircraft to expand market. NAC currently collects more than Rs 2 billion annually in ground handling charges from the international airlines.

The agreement will be extended by three more years to make it a total of five years after NAC obtains the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Safety Audit for Ground Operations certification, informed NAC spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma.

“After the IATA certification, NAC will have a monopoly on ground services until February 11, 2019,” he said, adding that the NAC will give 12.5 per cent of the earnings to the CAAN. Earlier, NAC used to give only 10 per cent to CAAN that was considering involvement of private sector in ground handling services due to increasing complaints of thefts and tampered luggage. Without groundhandling service, the national flag carrier is a bankrupt institution also due to lack of aircraft.

Likewise, the  only international airport – Tribhuvan International Airport –handles some 29 international airlines with above three million annual passenger movements currently.

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