Qatar and Nepal yesterday signed a civil aviation agreement for traffic rights (fifth freedom) after three days of extensive talks in Doha. The agreement was signed by Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Board & Managing Director of the Civil Aviation Authority on behalf of Qatar and Ms. Ridhi Pradhan, secretary at the Nepalese ministry of tourism and civil aviation.
According to the terms of the new agreement, both parties have given their consent to increase the number of Qatar Airways flights to Kathmandu from the present seven to 11 flights a week.
Al Nuaimi said the agreement allows for middle points like Muscat, Karachi and a third point to be decided later between Qatar and Nepal and also destinations beyond like Kuala Lumpur,Bandar Siri Begaw in Brunai and a third point to be decided later. It also provides four cargo flights between Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital and Doha.
He said he was happy that the agreement will enhance the flow of tourists
between the two countries and facilitate the travel of Nepalese workers to
and from the Gulf.
Talking on the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker said the signing of the agreement was an important step in meeting the demanded growth of the airline.
Qatar Airways started flying to Kathmandu in 1996 with one flight a week which was increased to two flights a week in June 97 and three in July 97, four in October 97 and daily from October 1999. Qatar and Nepal have diplomatic relations since 1977 and the Royal Nepalese Embassy was opened in Doha in 2000.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of Qatar, is the fastest growing airline
in the world. The airline has embarked on an ambitious growth plan to double the fleet size from the present 16 to over 30 by the end of 2004.