Airlines unaffected by fuel shortage in Nepal

Aviation: Both Drukair and Tashi Air say they have not been affected by the aviation fuel shortage being experienced at Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu.

International airlines have been notified by the Nepalese government to carry enough fuel for return journeys as the country is currently experiencing a fuel shortage as a result of protests in southern Nepal against a newly adopted constitution.

Drukair officiating CEO, Rinzin Dorji said that the national airline has not been affected. Drukair flies to Kathmandu seven times a week, with two of those being on the way to New Delhi.

Rinzin Dorji explained that the cost of aviation fuel at Tribhuvan airport is one of the highest in the region and therefore Drukair already carries enough fuel for its return journey for its Paro-Kathmandu-Paro flights of which four are operated in a week.

However, for its Paro-Kathmandu-New Delhi sector flights of which two are operated weekly, the airline does at times refuel at Kathmandu. Rinzin Dorji said this could be a challenge, however, he added that a contingency plan is already in place with Bagdogra airport in Silliguri available as a refuelling stop if required for the Paro-Kathmandu-New Delhi sector.

He added that the airline has been informed by the station manager that Tribhuvan airport has run out of fuel and that international flights are being cancelled by other airlines.

Tashi Air CEO, Phala Dorji, said that the private airline has not yet been affected by the aviation fuel shortage at Kathmandu. Tashi Air operates six times a week to Kathmandu with two of those flights also being the mid-point stop to New Delhi.

Like Drukair, the private airline also carries enough fuel for its journey to and fro given the high costs of aviation fuel at Kathmandu. Like Drukair, the private airline is also likely to use an Indian airport for fuel if more fuel is required for its onward journey to New Delhi.

Phala Dorji said that the airline is in constant contact with its agent in Kathmandu and that the airline is unlikely to be impacted. He pointed out that the airline would not risk taking its aircraft to Nepal if there was risk.

Meanwhile, reports of some fuel trucks entering Nepal since Wednesday were reported by media while reports of the Nepalese government exploring the possibility of flying in fuel also surfaced.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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