As you can see, to describe Nepal as having a vibrant and lively aviation sector would be a gross understatement. Even before last week’s entertainment courtesy the minister and airline chief, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAN’T) had been at the forefront of trying to make things even more thrilling by ordering Fly-by-Night Airlines to serve airports without landing lights, ordering helicopters to have two pilots if they are carrying Very Very Important Politicians (VVIP), and make it mandatory for arriving international flights to overfly Nepal for one hour on a scenic aerial tour of the Himalaya before landing at Tribhuvan Intergalactic Airport.
The good thing is that compared to chaotic airports all across Europe and the US today, our own domestic terminal in Kathmandu now meets international standards. Passengers can develop close interpersonal bonds with fellow human beings at the departure area in a spirit of sharing and accommodation, and even sit on each other’s laps for greater comfort. The single baggage conveyor in the arrival hall is so designed for passengers to manhandle each other as well as their luggage.
Following the international trend, Nepal’s airlines are now also called ‘Budget’ carriers because after this year’s budget, taxes have gone up. This means further cuts in in-flight service. Elsewhere, airlines slash fares to attract more customers, in Nepal we believe in keeping fares high and slash seat covers.
Nepal’s no-budget airlines did away with meals long ago, then post-Covid they stopped serving water, got rid of barf bags, and now hungry passengers have resorted to eating the cotton wool meant to serve as ear plugs.
At the rate aviation fuel keeps going up, airlines will soon get rid of seats to make planes lighter, and we will all have to strap hang on the 15 min Simara shuttle. Toilets will be converted to Royal Uneconomic Class where VVIP passengers can sit on the throne in their own private Q-bicle.
By next fiscal year, Hawa Airlines plans to switch to gliders to eliminate fuel cost altogether, lessen cabin noise, and help Nepal attain its net-zero carbon target.