Flying on domestic airlines to become a bit cheaper from Sunday


Flying on domestic airlines will be a bit cheaper from Sunday as they have slashed the fuel surcharge following a drop in the price of aviation fuel. The extra charge added to the cost of an air ticket could drop from Rs80 to Rs400 depending on distance, according to internal carriers. The new tariff will be implemented from Sunday.

Nepal Oil Corporation Thursday reduced the price of aviation fuel sold to domestic airlines by Rs10 per litre to Rs94.50 per litre.

Carriers were earlier required to revise the fuel surcharge when prices rise or fall by Rs4 per litre under the formula set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. A new provision allows airlines to revise the fuel surcharge immediately when prices rise or fall. The revised price fuel surcharge, however, should come into effect after 72 hours.

Rupesh Joshi, marketing and sales director of Buddha Air, said that despite the cut in the fuel surcharge, ‘cheap’ air tickets would not be significantly affected. “The surcharge reduction will apply to the normal fare which is high. But there are plenty of tickets sold at cheaper rates.”

Airlines are competing to fill seats by slashing airfares due to low travel demand. Normally, travel demand drops during the winter season. This is also the off season for tourism. In August 2018, carriers raised the fuel surcharge from Rs40 to Rs200 when Nepal Oil increased the price of aviation fuel by Rs4.50 per litre to Rs104.50 per litre.

Following that revision, the normal fare on a flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi, the longest domestic route, was increased to Rs13,070, including Rs4,615 fuel surcharge and Rs200 airport tax. A ticket on the shortest flight, Kathmandu-Simara, has gone up to Rs3,210, including Rs940 fuel surcharge and Rs200 airport tax.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the country’s domestic passenger traffic grew 16.49 percent to 1.98 million during the period January-September 2018. The figure includes 33,996 passengers flown by helicopters and single-engine aircraft. Flight movement increased 3 percent to 66,453 flights.

This means the Nepali skies saw 246 domestic flights daily on average. Airline officials said that fares remained subdued this year compared to a year ago.

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