Nepal asks international flights to get fuel “elsewhere”

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Nepal has run out of aviation fuel due to a trade crisis, and says international flights into the country should re-fuel elsewhere before arriving, officials said Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Authority said Kathmandu’s international airport would not be able to provide fuel for international flights starting Tuesday noon.

“We have issued a notice to airmen saying that fuel will not be available to international flights due to a shortage,” Ram Kumar Raya, chief of terminal management at Tribhuvan International Airport, told dpa.

“Nepal Oil Corporation sent us a letter requesting to take steps to conserve the limited stock and we’re acting on the basis of that.”

Raya said no international flights had been cancelled yet, but could be if the fuel shortage continues.

“We are in no position to predict anything right now.”

Nepal has been gripped by a trade crisis since Indian authorities closed the border to goods and fuel trucks six days ago.

New Delhi cited security concerns about violent demonstrations in southern Nepal over the past month in protest against a recently adopted constitution.

Two-thirds of Nepal’s imports come from India, including nearly all of its petrol imports.

The government said it might buy fuel from Bangladesh or China if the crisis continued.

Protestors have disrupted border crossings with India, attacking vehicles attempting to pass.

Nepal initiated talks with Indian authorities to resume border trade, as well as meeting with protest leaders Monday, but no breakthrough was achieved.

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