‘Open sky’ offer rejected by Nepal:
Nepal has rejected India’s ‘open sky’ offer to allow unlimited flights between the two countries.
What is open sky offer?
Open Sky Policy: Open sky refers to an agreement between two countries to allow any number of airlines to fly from either of them without any restriction on number of flights, number of destinations, number of seats, price and so on.
Why India is interested in engaging with Nepal via Open Sky Policy:
India has been keen on countering Nepal’s recent engagement with China on the road, railways and port connectivity.
Airlines from India and Nepal are now allowed to operate 30,000 seats from each side. Nepal has long been pushing for new airspaces to ease congestion on the existing routes and to save time and cost for air passengers.
India and Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint technical committee to examine Nepal’s request for developing new air routes and air entry points at Janakpur, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.
India’s Open sky agreement with other nations:
The latest development comes days after India signed an agreement with Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland and Spain to allow airlines to operate unlimited flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Among SAARC countries, India doesn’t have any ‘open sky’ agreement with Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. It allows unlimited flights from Bangladesh and Maldives at 18 domestic airports, from Sri Lanka at 23 airports, and from Bhutan at all its airports.