Avia Club to shut down services weeks before regular closure
POKHARA, June 9: Pokhara-based ultralight operator Avia Club has announced it will shut down its services almost a month ahead of its regular monsoon closure citing low turnover of tourist this year.
In the past, the Club suspended flights during peak monsoon from July to August. But referring to recent cancellation of visits and low turnout of tourists, it now says the operation would be halted from June 10.
"We will halt service from Sunday," said Prabin Gauchan, manager of Avia Club, adding that the company has been finding fewer tourists to serve of late as many overseas visitors - the main clients - cancelled their bookings because of strikes and Nepal bandas in May. "It has saddened us. But we have no other option," he told Republica.
Till last year, June was regarded as good season for the business. But with less turnover of tourists, Gauchan said its revenue remained dismally low over the past few weeks.
On an average under normal circumstance, Avia Club operated 5-6 hours of services each day. But following series of strikes and cancellations of visits by tourists in May, it cut down its operations to one hour this season. "Our number of flights decreased by 75 percent starting from May," he said.
Although Indian tourist had also started enjoying sports including ultralight, many of them didn´t turn up this season due to political instability, according to entrepreneurs. Many Indian tourists who were in Pokhara also shortened their trip fearing unpleasent incident during strikes.
Following the announcement of shutdown of the service most of its foreign pilots have also left the country for vacation.
President of Nepal Air Sports Association (NAAA) Rajesh Bamjan said that the situation was similar in paragliding as well. "Many companies have stopped operation due lack of tourists," he said out of 18 paragliding companies only 5/6 companies were operating while other have shut down services completely.