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Trekking route for people with disabilities comes into operation

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KATHMANDU — A trekking route developed specially targeting for the people with disabilities has come into operation in Annapurna Rural Municipality-1 of Kaski district.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Rabindra Adhikari, inaugurated the route amidst a program here Saturday.

The route developed with the financial assistance of Nepal Tourism Board and people’s voluntary labour stretches to 1.3 kilometers. People with disabilities have different types of talents and will power and activeness would help them explore such potentialities.

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On the occasion, people with disabilities passed through the trekking route from Bhumeko Thaan to Himalayan Deurali Resort with the help of wheel chairs and white canes.

“The introduction of disabled-friendly trekking route was itself a message to the world that construction of such structure was possible in the country with geographical diversities like Nepal,” Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board Deepak Raj Joshi said.

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Nepal, Japan revised ASA

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TOKYO — Nepal and Japan have revised their 24-year-old bilateral air services agreement (ASA) on Monday in Tokyo following more than 12 hours of non-stop negotiation that increased the number of flights (seven-fold from twice weekly to 14 weekly flights) with any type of aircraft on a reciprocal basis.

Nepal and Japan had signed a first bilateral air transport agreement on June 2, 1994, allocating 400 weekly seats to Nepali airlines.

As per the old ASA, airlines were permitted to operate 400 weekly seats or two weekly flights out of a single airport. The deal followed negotiations lasting nearly 12 hours.

But, Nepali carriers are now allowed to fly to any airport in Japan, except Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda Airport, according to Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota.

Haneda Airport, one of the busiest airports in Japan in terms of passenger traffic, is also the fifth busiest airport in the world. Haneda is more desirable because it is just 15 km from Tokyo, compared to some 65 km for Narita International Airport.

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The Japanese government also appeared flexible on fifth freedom traffic rights allowing Nepali carriers to operate three flights out of the allocated 14 weekly flights under fifth freedom traffic rights. With fifth freedom, a Nepali carrier can now, for example, land in Hong Kong or airports in other countries and pick up passengers and fly on to Japan.

Similarly, Nepali carriers can operate two weekly flights from Japan to beyond airports. For example, a Nepali airline can land at any designated airport in Japan and fly to any airport in the world from there.

Nepal Airlines wants to start services to Japan after receiving two long-range Airbus A330 jets, one of which is due to be delivered on June 27.

Apart from Nepal Airlines, several private carriers like Buddha Air have plans to serve Japan to bring high-end tourists to Nepal in the near future.

Until 2008, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) was the sole carrier that used to fly to Osaka from Kathmandu via Shanghai of China. With the new ASA in place, a number of Nepali airlines are gearing up to launch direct flights to Japan.

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