Pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar set to be more comfortable with direct flights

The journey to Kailash Mansarovar could get just a little more comfortable for pilgrims in comings days, with Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) giving principal approval to direct flight services from Delhi to Nepal’s Nepalgunj, which is one of the main entry points to the pilgrimage site in Tibet.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation has given an in-principal nod for an air route enabling direct flights between Nepalgunj and New Delhi,” a senior government official said on the condition of anonymity.

Recently, Director-General of Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Sanjiv Gautam held meetings with the MCA officials on the sidelines of Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai. “The direct flights will make it easy for Indian tourists planning to visit Kailash Mansarovar, besides it will be beneficial for a number of people from western Nepal who have to either travel via Kathmandu or take rural transport via Uttar Pradesh to reach Delhi,” Mr. Gautam said.

The airport at Nepalgunj can handle small planes such as ATRs and CRJ700 series.

He said that if an airline wishes to connect the two cities, the CAA can grant permissions immediately following the Indian government’s approval, but a decision on when the flight operations will commence will depend on an airline’s business plans and market activities.

The airlines will, however, first have to get a slot at New Delhi’s busy Indira Gandhi International airport. This was earlier refused to Buddh Air, which is keen to operationalise the route.

Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa route is among the routes taken by pilgrims to reach Mansarovar.