Kathmandu, December 8
A study committee has recommended the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to implement uniformity in airfare. The report prepared by the committee that was coordinated by former tourism secretary Suresh Man Shrestha has mentioned that the government has to implement a policy to set airfare based on market demand and supply rather than nationalities.
“In the international market airline companies are free to set airfares based on market demand. So, the same policy should be implemented in the domestic market too,” the report says. The report further mentions airline companies should reduce commission being provided to tour and trekking agencies for selling air tickets to foreigners.
As per the report, tour and trekking agencies are at present getting around 50 per cent to 60 per cent commission from airline companies while selling tickets to foreigners. Hence, the government needs to implement a policy whereby such commissions do not exceed 20 per cent per ticket, added the report.
The report further mentions that introducing a policy of setting airfares based on market demand will take time for it to be prepared and implemented. Hence, till the policy is prepared and implemented the average airfare and minimum airfare for foreign tourists in domestic flights can be set in the first phase as a short-term solution. In the second phase the government has to deregulate different airfares on trunk routes and non-tourist sectors and bring a single airfare policy into implementation.
The report further adds that providing 50 per cent discount to passengers above 70 years is possible if the government is ready to subsidise such airfares. “Based on the national census 2011, the population of people above 70 years occupies only 3.19 per cent of the total population of the country. And the number of elderly passengers flying is very low in the country, so, it won’t be a problem to provide discounts to elderly people,” reads the report.
The report has recommended the government to establish a fund to subsidise airfares for elderly people through which the airline companies can receive the amount that was discounted for elderly passengers.
Likewise, the report has also mentioned that airfares have become expensive in the country due to the high price of aviation turbine fuel. As per the report, Nepal Oil Corporation is earning more profit from aviation turbine fuel. If the profit margin on such fuel can be reduced the airfare will ultimately go down, added the report.
MoCTCA had formed the study committee in September to look into the possibility of providing airfare discounts to elderly people, to implement uniformity in domestic airfare, and the possibilities of reducing the rate of aviation turbine fuel.
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Written by Sureis
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