Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTA), Yogesh Bhattarai, has informed that his ministry is preparing to resume domestic flights for hilly and mountainous regions in the initial phase.

Even though the government had earlier announced that flight operations would be resumed from September 1, domestic flights are unlikely to resume from the said date as prohibitory orders have been imposed in several districts in order to curb the increasing spread of the COVID-19.

As many as 47 districts out of 77 districts have issued prohibitory orders of some kind. More than 30 districts have imposed complete lockdown while others have ordered partial lockdown.

“At present, we will not be able to resume flights in the Tarai region sue to inceraing cases of COVID-19 there. Hence, we are holding discussions with airline operators to resume flights from hilly and mountainous regions,” said Bhattarai during a virtual meeting to publish MoCTCA’s annual report of the last fiscal year on Tuesday.

Bhattarai said that the ministry was preparing to resume domestic flights keeping in mind the fast approaching festive season.

“We will soon submit our proposal to resume flights in the domestic sector, except in the Tarai region, to the Cabinet,” he said, “Meanwhile, international flights will begin from September 1.”

The government began the fifth phase of repatriation flights yesterday. On the very first day, 163 Nepalis were evacuated from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates via an Air Arabia flight.