Australia has entered into an air services agreement with Nepal, but apparently forgot to check if any of our airlines were interested.
Under the new agreement, Australian airlines can now operate up to seven services a week to Kathmandu, and another 28 a week to other airports in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said, according to the Australian.
“Nepal is one of Australia’s largest passenger markets within non-stop range that doesn’t have a direct flight,” McCormac said.
However, a spokesperson for Qantas told Travel Weekly that neither Qantas or Jetstar currently has plans to operate direct flights to Nepal, but the airlines will assess the opportunity to codeshare on partner airlines based on demand.
A spokesperson for Virgin Australia also confirmed the airline has no current plans to apply for the slots.
According to the Australian, 31,000 Australians visited Nepal in the year to July, compared with 1.44 million Aussies visiting New Zealand, 1.3 million travelling to Indonesia, just over a million going to the US and 416,000 travelling to India, which also doesn’t have any direct flights from Australian carriers.
Nepal is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for flying and is home to Tenzing-Hillary Airport, which is considered the most dangerous airport in the world due to the shortness of its runway and its proximity to mountainous ranges.