POKHARA, May 21: Passengers are facing shortage of air tickets on Pokhara-Kathmandu sector, as demand increased suddenly after tourists in the lake city started cutting their trips short due to indefinite strikes.
Airline operators say demand for air tickets is also increasing as more Nepalis are using flights to travel between Pokhara and Kathmandu after strikes affected vehicular movement.
“It is very difficult to arrange tickets on Pokhara-Kathmandu route because demand increased all of a sudden due to frequent bandas and strikes,” Gautam Baral, station-manager of Buddha Air in Pokhara, said. “However, the situation is not that severe on Kathmandu-Pokhara sector.”
Baral said they have received bookings for about 95 percent of seats for the next few days. “But booking in Kathmandu-Pokhara route is only about 50 percent,” he added.
Ram Lamichhane of Yeti Airlines said passengers willing to pay full fare were also not getting tickets.
Yeti Airlines operates seven flights a days on Pokhara-Kathmandu route. Buddha is flying five times a day on the route.
Tourism entrepreneurs said tourists with tourist bus reservation are switching to air service due to uncertainty in vehicular movement.
“As many as 18 buses used to leave for Kathmandu every day. Not a single bus has left for Kathmandu over the past few days due to banda,” Kedar Sharma, president of Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA), Pokhara Chapter, said.
Travel agents say most of the bookings for air seats have been made by Nepalis. “Most of these people would have used surface transportation, had there been no banda,” a staffer of a travel agent said.