Kathmandu: On Tuesday morning, police personnel at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) stopped passengers from entering the terminals–both domestic and international—without a printed copy of flight tickets.
Even when passengers presented a digital copy of flight tickets, police wanted printed copies. A few hours after police started to stop passengers, airlines companies notified passengers to present printed copies in the airport.
After some online portals published the news about the issue, the decision was heavily criticized on social media. The decision was a mockery of the government’s digital Nepal plan, wrote social media users.
Globally, airports accept digital copies of flight tickets. However, moving in a reverse direction, authorities concerned directed passengers to present printed copies.
When Nepal Live Today contacted the TIA officials and Nepal Police, they defended the move. “Passengers were only presenting PNR numbers before entering the terminal. Police personnel were asking for a full digital ticket. The decision was misinterpreted,” said Teknath Sitaula, spokesperson at the TIA.
“If passengers present digital copies of ticket, they can enter the terminal. It is not true that police stopped passengers with digital tickets,” Sitaula clarified.
Commenting on some media reports, Sitaula said there might have been some miscommunication. “Police had directed to check full ticket. Some police might have asked for printed copies as a result of miscommunication,” he said.
Dipendra Kumar Karna, communication manager at Buddha Air, questioned the decision of the authorities concerned. “How can the decision be justified at the time of the pandemic. Passengers have to queue up to get their tickets printed, and that too at the time of the pandemic,” he said.
At least 8,000 passengers fly with Buddha Air everyday. “The decision is not environment-friendly,” he said.
“We are heading backward as a nation. Cheers to New Nepal,” tweets Sandeep.
According to Sudarshan Bartaula, spokesperson at Yeti Airlines, in the name of checking tickets, authorities should not make things more complicated. “There should be proper checking at the airport. Globally, airports accept e-copies of ticket. How can the decision be justified?” he said.
“This is moving backward. If Nepal Police officers can’t look at the mobile properly, train them,” writes another Twitter user.