October 20: Himalaya Airlines will start direct flights between Kathmandu and Beijing from October 27. This flight is considered as a crucial step for connectivity between the two countries especially because the capital cities of Nepal and China lack direct flights so far.
Himalaya Airlines will operate three flights to Beijing per week in the first phase. The company said that the booking for the first flight has been opened and 130 passengers have already booked one-way tickets.
Tourism entrepreneurs believe that the operation of direct flights between Kathmandu and Beijing will contribute to an increase in flow of tourists during the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.
Current, five Chinese airlines companies – Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines and Tibet Airlines – have been operating flights between Nepal and China. However, none of the airlines operate direct flights between Beijing and Kathmandu. This has forced passengers to make a transit through either Chengdu, Guangzhou, Lhasa or Kunming.
Himalaya Airlines will operate its Airbus A-320 aircraft to China’s newly built Daxing International Airport. The star-fish shaped airport built to ease air traffic congestion with an investment of US$ 15 billion came into operation recently.
Airline companies of Nepal and China can operate 98 flights in total after the two countries reviewed the air service agreement some months ago. Nepali airline companies can now operate flights to 15 different airports of China. Himalaya Airlines will also operate flights to three other cities of China within 2019, claimed Ujjwal Dali, chief of the brand and service department of the company.
According to him, the company is preparing to launch one flight per week to Guiyang, Changsha and Nanjing of China.
Himalaya Airlines has three Airbus A-320 aircraft with the seating capacity of 158. The company is also planning to procure Airbus A319 aircraft to operate flights to Lhasa, which lies in a high altitude area.