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India agrees to provide new air routes over Biratnagar, Janakpur and Mahendranagar

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KATHMANDU — India has agreed to provide new air entry routes for Nepal over Biratnagar , Janakpur and Mahendranagar following a two-day meeting held in Kathmandu starting June 14.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have signed an agreement Saturday on the new air entry routes for Nepal.

According to the agreement, international flights coming to Nepal can now take the eastern air entry routes over Biratnagar and Janakpur.

Nepal had asked the Indian side to open western air entry routes over Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar for high altitude international flights. But the Indian side sought more time for taking a decision.

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These two air routes are crucial for the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), Pokhara International Airport and the Second International Airport (SIA) Nijgadh, which are under construction.

Along with this agreement, one-way air routes over Biratnagar and Janakpur have now become two-way for international flights. Prior this, international flights from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) used to use the Biratnagar and Janakpur routes as well.

According to CAAN, almost 99 percent of international flights coming to TIA take the Simara route. However, flights coming from China and Bhutan are taking alternative routes east of Sagarmatha.

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US to provide 4 Sky Trucks to Nepal Army

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KATHMANDU — The government of the United States is providing four Sky Trucks, light cargo and passenger aircraft, to the Nepal Army for rescue and disaster response efforts.

Two of the four Sky Trucks that will arrive in Kathmandu by 2020. Those two aircrafts will be newly manufactured while the rest will be refurbished aircraft.

The Army is running short of aircraft, with just around a dozen of heavy, medium, and light transport helicopters comprising its fleet.

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According to the US Embassy in Nepal, the value of the four aircraft is $35.5 million.

The US government had pledged the aid during an outgoing Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri’s visit to the United States in April 2016. The US government, during Chhetri’s visit to the US, had pledged to provide Nepal Army with four aircraft within two years.

During his farewell speech on August 8, Chhetri highlighted the US support as one of the significant achievements of his tenure.

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