Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport Civil Aviation Office (TIACAO) has warned it may ground Himalaya Airlines (H9, Kathmandu) if the carrier fails to settle outstanding service and groundhandling fees.

Republica newspaper reports the carrier, a joint-venture between Nepali and Chinese interests, owes the airport operator charges and accrued interest to the tune of NPR200 million rupees (USD1.76 million).

TIACAO's general manager, Kumar Chhetri, told the paper that the charges date back eight months.

“One month ago, we had asked the airline in written [correspodence] to clear all the dues. On January 12, it paid NPR5 million (USD44,058), asking for some more time to clear all dues,” he said.

A follow-up letter was dispatched on Friday, February 15, again asking Himalaya Airlines to settle its dues or risk the grounding of its fleet of three A320-200s.

“We will leave no stone unturned to recover our dues. TIACAO won’t make any compromise on this,” he added.

The TIACAO grounded another local carrier, Saurya Airlines (Kathmandu), in December last year after it failed to pay off service charges amounting to NPL300 million (USD2.6 million).

The report said AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) is also planning to ask the Government of Nepal for a waiver on its commitments adding that it would be able to pay its dues on an instalment basis.

Neither Himalaya Airlines nor AirAsia chose to comment.