KATHMANDU: Nepal and Vietnam are scheduled to sign the bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) during the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

During the 8th ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN 2015) held in Antalya, Turkey in October 2015, Nepal and Vietnam had signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the two countries to operate 14 flights a week by any type of aircraft.

Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the Tourism Ministry, said that that the memorandum of understanding signed during that time would be formalized.

Prime Minister Oli left on a week-long official visit to Vietnam and Cambodia on Thursday.

The government has been signing ASAs with different countries in a bid to promote the country’s tourism sector after the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa starts operations.

The national pride project in Bhairahawa is envisaged to serve the fast rising business and industrial hub of Bhairahawa and facilitate international pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

The much delayed airport project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The government plans to open the airport next year to help realize its goal of hosting 2 million tourists during the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.  Nepal has so far signed ASAs with 39 countries.