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Why is airfare expensive during Dashain?

The demand for air travel surges during Dashain, especially for those traveling outside the valley. The daily number of departures and arrivals by road and air transport has increased by more than 1.5 lakhs during Dashain. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people will travel by air during Dashain. According to Ghanendra Bhul, Assistant Spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, this Dashain, there has been an increase of 10% to 15% in domestic flights. The increase in domestic flights is partly due to the capacity expansion at Tribhuvan International Airport. The increase in the number of flights to and from various destinations has also contributed to this growth.

Air travel has become a popular mode of transport for people celebrating Dashain. The spokesperson of Tribhuvan International Airport, Subash Jha, said that during Dashain, there is a significant increase in the number of passengers departing and arriving daily, surpassing 12,000 passengers. Airlines such as Buddha, Yeti, Shree, Nepal Airlines, Surya, Sita, Tara, and Summit Air operate in the trunk route (Terai) and the STOL route (Hill and Himalayan districts).

Due to the festival season and favorable tourist weather, the number of passengers has increased. Nearly 1,000 passengers arrive and depart daily during this time, a figure provided by Jha.

However, the significant increase in passenger numbers during Dashain has led to an increase in airfare, and it has been a subject of concern. The airfare for flights between Kathmandu and Dhangadi has reached NPR 17,000, which has raised concerns among travelers.

The reasons for the expensive airfare

The increase in demand for air travel during Dashain is one of the reasons for the high airfare. The spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority, Bhul, pointed out that airlines have the right to determine airfare based on demand. The number of flights to and from Kathmandu-Dhangadi has also increased, and the airfare has been determined based on the cost of air travel. As a result, the airfare for Kathmandu-Dhangadi flights has increased to NPR 17,000.

The rise in airfare rates can also be related to rising fuel costs and the dollar’s devaluation. Furthermore, the government’s recent implementation of a 13% VAT on airfare at the start of the current fiscal year has added to the burden, making air travel more expensive, according to Yograj Sharma, spokesperson for the Airline Operators Association of Nepal.
Consequently, during the Dashain festival, air travel has become a pricier proposition, impacting travelers, particularly those operating on a tight budget.

On the flip side, the public transportation sector is wrestling with a pressing issue of overcrowding. According to Rajendraprasad Bhatta, the spokesperson for the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Office, there has been a significant uptick in the volume of passengers choosing road travel to reach destinations beyond the valley. The daily tally of passengers departing from the valley, which previously stood at approximately 51,000, has now surged past 100,000. This pattern is expected to endure.

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