Australia and Nepal prepare to sign first bilateral ASA

    Australia and Nepal are preparing to sign their first bilateral air service agreement, which would facilitate a potential expansion by Nepal Airlines to Australia (Kathmandu Post, 23-Aug-2017). Nepal’s Civil Aviation Ministry officials said the Australian government had responded positively to the proposal, and sent its feedback on the draft ASA prepared by Nepal. Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Under Secretary Pramod Nepal stated: “We are preparing to send our views to Australia… Once both sides agree on a common agenda, the draft will be tabled at the Cabinet for its approval to sign the ASA… Negotiations will begin after the Cabinet’s clearance”. The date and venue for signing an agreement would be finalised after the two sides agree on the items in the agreement. Nepal is reportedly seeking 14 weekly services with any type of aircraft, with Australia reportedly expressing willingness to permit seven weekly services to key gateway such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, with unlimited services to/from other destination. Third country codeshare agreement, fifth freedom traffic rights, multiple designations, free pricing and unrestricted cargo has also reportedly been proposed by Nepal.