Four Nepalese operators had their Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) flight bans lifted after paying NPR21.3 million Nepalese rupees (USD160,000) in overdue fees. Guna Airlines (RMK, Kathmandu), Fishtail Air, Prabhu Helicopters, and Mountain Helicopters all had their flying rights suspended on August 11. However, they managed to find the funds within 48 hours to pay their CAAN invoices and have had the suspensions lifted.

Guna Airlines, formerly known as Simrik Airlines (Kathmandu), is among the best known of the suspended operators. It owed the CAAN NPR5.512 million (USD41,400) in landing, parking, air navigation and other fees accrued at 32 CAAN-managed and operated airports in Nepal. Consequently, the aviation regulator audited the airline and found its financial position weakened. It thus determined this could lead to safety and security risks and suspended its licence. Now, having found the funds to pay its bills, the suspension has been lifted.

Fishtail Air, formerly known as Summit Helicopters, Prabhu Helicopters, and Mountain Helicopters, are all rotary wing operators. According to their websites, Fishtail Air operates one Eurocopter manufactured AS 350 B3e, one AS 350 B3, and one Bell Helicopter 206B III Jet Ranger. Prabhu Helicopters fly four Robinson R66s and one Airbus H125, while Mountain Helicopters operates a single AS350 B3 Eurocopter.

According to CAAN spokesman Gyanendra Bhul, cited in the Himalaya Times, these four airlines are among multiple operators that owed CAAN money at the end of the Nepalese financial year (July 16). Referring to fixed-wing operators, and including the now discharged Guna debt, he said six airlines owed the agency a total of NPR129 million (USD968,800). Those other airlines include Shree Airlines, Summit Air (Nepal), Tara Air, Saurya Airlines, and Sita Air.

"The suspension placed on Simrik Air, Prabhu Helicopters, and Fishtail Air, among other companies, has been lifted after they paid their dues, while other companies are also expected to follow the same soon," said Bhul. "The airline companies are required to make all payments within the last day of the fiscal year. After receiving the list of unpaid dues of the last fiscal from the financial department of CAAN, the director general of the authority had decided to suspend all services and flights for the listed companies other than for rescue operations."

Some operators have criticised last week's suspensions as a stunt, saying that they made regular and timely payments and many of the debts related to undelivered or delayed invoices sent to small airports outside the capital. Murali Dhar Joshi, general manager of Simrik Air, told the Himalaya Times, that "although we make regular payments to the authority, payment of some bills received from rural airports takes time as they need to be verified and corrected." He was critical of leaked reports saying the airline was late with its payments, saying it had damaged the carrier's reputation.

Dil Bahadur Woli, general manager of Mountain Helicopters, also went public with his criticisms, saying the agency had increased its fees during the pandemic and also had serious deficiencies in its invoicing and collections process, creating delivery delays which, in turn, led to payment delays.