Yeti Airlines and Buddha Air deployed their ATR72s on Thursday and Friday to bring French, Swiss and other European tourists from the Annapurna area, and more flights are being arranged on Saturday.
The British Embassy has asked its nationals in various parts of Nepal to send information for possible rescue. It also arranged an escorted bus that departed Pokhara at 8AM Saturday to bring tourists by road to Kathmandu.
The evacuation flights were delayed because of the need to arrange lodgings in Kathmandu, and negotiate ferry flights out to the final destination of the tourists. International airlines have to fly in empty to Kathmandu because of the lockdown.
There were also bureaucratic delays caused by coordination between various ministries. The Nepal government has come under criticism for not paying as much attention to
Nepalis who are also stranded in the mountains. Trekking guides and porters have also been stuck in Lukla and various other climbing routes.
“We have been working with the embassies and various ministries to help the tourists, and are taking all the health precautions to fly them out by allowing special charter flights so that they can be with their families,” said Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal