Aviation

Nepal Airlines plans to expand routes to India

Nepal Airlines plans to buy four new aircraft

KATHMANDU:  Nepal Airlines plans to buy four new aircraft to expand its international routes, including to India, a top executive of the national carrier has said.

nepal airlines“We are planning to buy four aircraft – two wide-body and two narrow body — preferably from Airbus with an estimated cost of $400 million,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, Managing Director, Nepal Airlines Corp, reports DNA.

The flag carrier currently has four planes (two each from Airbus and Boeing) for international operations. Besides, it operates a number of small aircraft on domestic routes. In India, the state-run airline has services for Kathmandu from Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.

“We have received requests for starting services from Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Amritsar. Two of the new aircraft will be deployed on Indian sector (cities not yet decided) and the rest will be for China and Saudi Arabia,” he said on the sidelines of a tourism-related event organised here by Nepal Airlines and KGH Group of Hotels, a leading player in the country’s hospitality sector.

The national carrier of the Himalayan country returned to Mumbai in September last year after exiting the city nine years ago due to unavailability of aircraft. It operates three direct flights (from the new T2 terminal) on the Mumbai- Kathmandu route (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).

Set up in July 1958, the airline has been making money despite having a very small fleet. “We have never been in the red,” said Kansakar.

Bindu Thomas, Manager (Sales) of Nepal Airlines in Mumbai, said the carrier is currently filling up to 70 per cent seats from Mumbai and this figure will go up once peak tourist season starts (in April). She said now mostly Nepalese citizens are travelling on the Mumbai-Kathmandu flight, but more Indian tourists are expected to join them in the coming months.

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