International airline companies in Nepal can now start in-flight shops in Nepal. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation has prepared a working procedure for on-board “duty-paid shops” which allows companies to easily run a shop during flights albeit with permission.
The ministry expects paid shops on flights to increase revenue and make airline services more durable and beneficial to all. The procedure enables airline companies such as nepal Airlines, Himalaya Airlines, and Buddha Air to have mid-air shops as they board flights for foreign destinations.
But the practice is not entirely new to Nepal’s aviation industry. Before Nepal Airlines ran duty-paid shops on flights for two decades, however, the Customs Act forced the halt to it after the 2060s as per the company’s spokesman Ramesh Paudel.
Jovial with the move, Paudel was all praise for it. He said, “The shops gave a very good earning for the company, and we tried to resume the service after its closure, it’s a good initiative”.
However, there are some criteria set for in-flight shopping in Nepal.
Permission from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation
Any Nepali airline company that is interested to set up a duty-paid shop onboard must obtain approval from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation. The company must submit an application with both financial and technical probability at the ministry.
The application must include the goods (to be sold at the shop)’s selection, measures to maintain their quality/hygiene, go-down management, etc. For foods, consumer right, measures to keep food safe and hygienic, transaction processes, etc. must be submitted to the ministry. The ministry nods and paves the way only after receiving the application.
Safety check for items
All the goods billed for the shops must be sealed and go through a safety check at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). As per the procedure, the airport designated a go-down to store the items. Likewise, safety measures will be taken as per the criteria set by the airport.
Airline companies must get approval for duty-paid shops
The provision is that airlines operating in-flight shops in Nepal must obtain pre-approval from the customs office of the concerned international airport for the items to be sold. The company must also keep its items’ sales, transactions, and other details up to date in a way that they can be produced anytime if required.
The format for submitting the balance statement will be determined by the customs office for items sent aboard the ship and those that return after the flight.
Likewise, airline companies must issue official bills for goods stored on the flights. The companies must also conform to the Revenue Leakage Act, Value-Adde Tax (VAT), Income Tax Act, and related laws.
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Report submission within three months
Airline companies must submit their reports every three months at the ministry. The procedure mentions that companies must also be obliged to Nepal Civil Aviation Authority, Airport Fee Regulations 2078.
In addition, companies must also follow all the protocols set by CAAN and the international civil aviation association. The ministry will check on whether the rules and regulations are followed by airline companies or not.