Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kathmandu curfew hits Indian airlines

Kathmandu:The draconian curfew freshly imposed by King Gyanendra's government in Kathmandu Valley has hit Indian airlines operating flights between India and Kathmandu like never before with the passenger list remaining near blank and losses mounting.
The hardest hit by the fresh turmoil in the simmering kingdom has been India's national carrier Indian Airlines, which unlike private operators doesn't have the luxury of cancelling flights due to passenger scarcity.
On Thursday, when the royalist government enforced an unprecedented 24-hour curfew in the valley and authorised security forces to shoot violators on sight in a futile bid to stop anti-king protests, Indian Airlines carried only 12 passengers on its Boeing flight to Kathmandu from New Delhi, returning with 32 passengers.
Private operators Jet Airways had 28 passengers arriving in Kathmandu while Air Sahara could muster only eight.
The airlines' woes continued Friday, when the government extended curfew by 14 hours.
21/04/06 Sudeshna Sarkar/