10 JANUARY 2020 I Nepal’s civil aviation minister Yogesh Bhattarai claims his dialogue with Australian officials about air service operation between Sydney and Kathmandu has been positive.
The minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation however is yet to spell out what the “positive discussion” entailed in terms of a timeframe within which the Australian Nepalese community members will be able to fly home direct.
The air service dialogue between the two countries was held at the Embassy of Nepal in Canberra, Mr Bhattarai said through his social media accounts Thursday evening.
The minister’s visit to Australia to promote Visit Nepal Year 2020 has created quite a stir – both in Australia and Nepal. Only today, Nepal’s largest newspaper Kantipur ran an entire editorial critiquing the minister’s Australia junket at a time when the country is distressed by raging bushfires.
Minister’s post about the direct air service between Australia and Nepal, the third largest source of international students for Australia, has attracted considerable interest among members of the Australian Nepalese diaspora with many expressing their gratitude to the minister.
Australia and Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding to initiate air service early October last year. A direct flight between the two nations will be extremely convenient to tens of thousands of Nepalese Australians, international students and their families to travel back and forth.
The current transit in between Kathmandu and Australian airports is a source of considerable headache for families trying to get their elderly parents to Australia because a vast majority of them do not speak English and may not be experienced international traveller. Hence, the minister’s posts about the “discussion” has once again generated hope for an early initiation of direct flights between Australia and Nepal.