Fuel shortage forces Nepal domestic flights to be canceled

Kathmandu: Airlines in Nepal have been forced to cancel more than half of their domestic flights because of an ongoing fuel shortage, an official said today.

More than 70 percent of domestic flights were canceled yesterday and about half were canceled today, said Utsav Raj Kharel, the manager of Kathmandu’s airport.

International flights were operating on a normal schedule because they are required to fill their tanks before flying to Nepal.

Passengers were stranded by the canceled flights in Kathmandu, the capital, and other cities. About 2,000 passengers a day normally fly in and out of Kathmandu’s airport on domestic routes.

For weeks, members of the Madhesi ethnic community protesting Nepal’s new constitution have blocked the southern border with India, preventing fuel and other essential items from entering the country.

India, which has close cultural ties with the Madhesis, has also restricted fuel supplies to Nepal, which relies on its giant neighbor for most of its fuel.