Nepal: Road blocks jam skies|
Feb 24, 2005 10: 47 EST
Visitors to Nepal may find their flights severely delayed due to Maoist guerrilla reactions to the new government.
Blockades are hampering Nepal, causing domestics flights to raise prices and overbook. The increase in air travel is blamed on congested roads, which are causing travelers to fly instead of using cars or busses.
In response to the king’s takeover, the Maoist guerrillas called a general strike. But the strike’s influence was minimal. In fact, the government-controlled media kept many people unaware of the strike.
Fearing their influence over the urban population could decrease, they chose to set blockades on all major roads in Nepal. These have been even more brutal than on previous occasions. Reports indicate rebels attacking trucks and private vehicles. Long lines on the roads are delaying travelers for hours or days.
“Even as the authorities have assured of security and have even provided escorts to vehicles coming to and leaving Kathmandu,” Nepalnews said, “traffic along major highways remains very slow.”
With the new upsurge in air travel, most airline companies have tickets booked for weeks, and are increasing prices.
Tourists, trekkers and climbers should have this in mind. If not booked in advance, their trips from Kathmandu to the starting points of their treks may be delayed or cost more than expected.
In Nepal, nine airline companies offering flight services, including the state-owned Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation.
Image of Suketar aerodrome, courtesy of Alain Collet