The aviation sector in Nepal has been severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with staggering losses totaling NPR 37 billion (approximately USD 320 million) as of mid-July 2021, as revealed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
The CAAN calculated these losses based on the earnings of the aviation industry in previous years. According to the authority, the airline corporations alone have incurred losses of NPR 25 billion (approximately USD 215 million) from March 2020 to July 2021. Additionally, the civil authority, which oversees and operates airports across Nepal, has suffered losses amounting to NPR 12 billion (approximately USD 105 million) during the same period.
The impact of the pandemic on Nepal's aviation sector has been multifaceted. With widespread travel restrictions, lockdowns, and reduced demand for air travel, airlines have faced significant challenges in generating revenue. Many flights have been grounded or cancelled, resulting in decreased passenger traffic and cargo shipments. Moreover, the suspension of international flights for several months has severely affected the country's tourism industry, which heavily relies on air transport.
The losses incurred by the aviation sector have not only affected the financial stability of airline corporations and the civil authority but have also had ripple effects on related industries and employment opportunities. The aviation sector is a crucial contributor to Nepal's economy, supporting jobs in areas such as tourism, hospitality, trade, and transportation.
In response to the crisis, the Nepalese government and the CAAN have taken various measures to mitigate the impact on the aviation sector. These measures have included financial support, waivers of fees and charges, and regulatory relaxations. However, the challenges persist as the pandemic continues to evolve, with uncertainties regarding the resumption of normal air travel and the recovery of the aviation industry.
As Nepal gradually navigates through the pandemic and works towards the revival of its aviation sector, concerted efforts are required at various levels. This includes implementing effective health and safety protocols to restore traveler confidence, promoting domestic and international tourism, exploring new markets and opportunities, and strengthening the resilience and sustainability of the aviation sector.
In conclusion, Nepal's aviation sector has been severely affected by the ongoing pandemic, with substantial losses incurred by airline corporations and the civil authority. The challenges faced by the aviation industry have far-reaching impacts on the economy and employment in Nepal. As the country works towards recovery, collaborative efforts are needed to address the challenges and ensure the long-term sustainability of the aviation sector, while prioritizing health and safety measures to protect the well-being of travelers and aviation workers.