Santosh Pokharel, My Republica, October1, 2019
POKHARA: As the inflow of tourists is increasing and more flights are being added to Pokhara Airport, its profit is increasing every year. The airport earned about Rs 90 million in the Fiscal Year 2018/19.
The airport’s expenses for the fiscal year were Rs 40 million, putting its net profits at Rs 50 million. According to an official of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the profit is increasing in line with the airport’s income. The domestic airport had earned Rs 83.7 million in the FY 2017/18.
Though the airport’s income decreased in 2015 when a massive earthquake hit Nepal, it did not suffer losses that year. “Pokhara Airport is in the top of the list of profit-making airports,” said Pokhara Airport Chief Bhola Prasad Guragain. “The profit is increasing every year. The profit for the upcoming year is projected to increase by 30 percent.” He said that the aim was to increase the income by double digit.
He said the increment in air passengers, addition of airlines companies and tourists’ pleasant experience in the Pokhara’s sky will add to the income of the airport. According to Guragain, the income of the airport stood at Rs 63.9 million in the FY 2016/17. Similarly, it earned Rs 50.9 million in the FY 2015/16, Rs 58.5 million in FY 2014/15 and Rs 57.5 million in the FY 2013/14.
“The income had gone down in the year when the earthquake hit Nepal. The arrival of tourists declined that year because of which the income depleted,” Guragain said. “But we were not in loss, only the profit declined slightly.”
According to him, the airports earn from aircraft landing, parking, air service, advertisement, fare, and airport tax. The income from ultra-light flight is also added. There are three ultra-light companies that carry out the flight in the skies of Pokhara. Similarly, helicopters make the airport their stations. Apart from these, big aircrafts are operating using Pokhara as base.
“The flight sectors have increased, and the number of air passenger is also increasing,” Guragain told Republica. Currently, regular flights to Kathmandu, Jomsom, Bharatpur, and Bhairahawa are being operated from the airport.
According to Kashi Nath Poudel, information officer at the Pokhara Airport, the number of air passengers increased by 600,000 in the last fiscal year. He said that the government is preparing to celebrate 2020 as Visit Nepal Year, and the influx of more tourists will add up to the profit of the airport.
“Many tourists will come to Pokhara if everything goes as per the government’s plan. Some private airlines companies are preparing to operate flights to Pokhara,” Poudel said, “The addition of airlines companies results into the rise of passengers and ultimately will increase the profit of airport.”
Lately, the number of domestic tourism has increased. Entrepreneurs say the tourism sector is much dependant on domestic tourists. Bharat Raj Parajuli, central committee member of Hotel Association of Pokhara, said: “Pokhara’s tourism sector is in operation because of domestic tourists. More domestic tourists will arrive if flights to Simara, Nepalgunj, Biratnagar are operated.” He stated domestic tourists contribute to 50 percent of Pokhara’s tourism business.