November 29: Buddha Air has shifted its focus on flights to rural areas after getting a lukewarm response in its international flights to Indian cities
Buddha Air had started international flights between Kathmandu and Beneras of India for the first time on June 29, 2021. It also gave priority to international flights to Indian cities of Kolkata and New Delhi but did not get business as per the expectations of the company.
In addition to loss in business, India refused to give permit to Buddha Air to carry passengers to New Delhi.
Buddha Air, which has been operating flights since the last 24 years, had started Kathmandu-Kolkata flights from May of 2019. The company reported a shortage of passengers from Kolkata that resulted in loss. Therefore, the flights were canceled in November after just six months of operation. Similarly, the company, which has also put forward a plan to fly from Nepalgunj to Delhi, has not started flights yet as India has not given permission yet.
Giving high importance to international flights, Buddha Air had also put forward a plan to set up Buddha Air International in Pokhara, targeting such flights. With the exception of the Kathmandu-Beneras flights, Buddha Air has now decided to come up with plans targeting flights to remote areas. Meanwhile, the company has decided to put on hold to other international flights.
The company has started selecting airports of rural areas after deciding to purchase a 19-seater Twin-Otter aircraft to flying to remote destinations. According to Dipendra Kumar Karna, the communication manager of the company, Buddha Air has already started its homework on the purchase of Twin-Otter aircraft, airport selection, pilots and manpower preparation to operate flights to remote areas. He also informed that 26 airports have been selected for such flights.
Stating that necessary preparations including selection of pilots and airports will be completed within a year along with the purchase of aircraft, after which the destinations will be confirmed. The Buddha Air will fly on the STOL route by making Nepalgunj as its hub for the far west areas, Pokhara for the west and Manthali of Ramechhap for the east. The company is planning to fly from Manthali to Solukhumbu and Taplejung, from Nepalgunj to Humla and Simikot and from Pokhara to Jomsom.