January 23: Himalaya Airlines, the country’s sole privately-owned international airlines, has started operating flights to Chongqing, China from today (January 23).
Yogesh Bhattarai, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation along with Kedar Prasad Adhikari, secretary for culture, tourism and civil aviation, Hou Yanqi, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Zhou Enyong and Vijay Shrestha president and vice-president of Himalaya Airlines respectively inaugurated the flight to Chongqing.
With the inauguration of this flight, Himalaya Airlines now offers direct connectivity to five Chinese cities including the capital Beijing.
Vijay Shrestha, speaking at the press meet held at Hotel Dwarika, informed that the airlines would soon expand its services to other Chinese cities. “We will start flights to Shanghai and Lhasa soon,” he said.
Hou Yanqi, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, thanked the airlines for increasing connectivity between the two countries. She additionally expressed that the Chongqing flights would boost tourism and trade between Nepal and China.
“First, this will contribute to the establishment of trans-Himalayan multi-dimensional connectivity network,” she said adding , “Following Beijing, Changsha, Guiyang and Shenzhen, the direct flight from Kathmandu to Chongqing is another positive endeavor which will elevate the cooperation in aviation sector to a new high.”
On the note that Himalaya Airlines, established as a joint investment between Nepal and China, received the highest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the entire Nepali aviation sector, she wished everyone a happy Chinese New Year and expressed her hopes for the prosperity and longevity of China-Nepal relations.
Similarly, Yogesh Bhattarai stressed that increasing flight connectivity between China and Nepal was crucial for making Visit Nepal Year successful. “The increased connectivity brought by the flight to Chongqing is crucial for bringing in a game changing number of Chinese tourists,” he added.
He additionally thanked Himalaya Airlines for its crucial role in uplifting the aviation sector in Nepal. “Nepal Airlines will also start its flights to China and we also welcome Chinese Airlines to operate flights to Gautam Buddha International Airport.” Bhattarai also thanked the government of China and the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for their crucial role in supporting the flight operations to Chinese cities.
Currently, Himalaya operates flight services from Kathmandu to Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kula Lumpur in Malaysia, Doha in Qatar, Beijing, Changsha, Guiyang, Shenzen and Chongqing of China, Abu Dhabi in UAE and Dammam in Saudi Arabia. “Flights to Dubai have been on hold but we will resume them shortly,” Shrestha said.
The airline informed of its plans to start flights to Lhasa and Shanghai of China, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and resume the flights to Yangon and Colombo in Myanmar and Sri Lanka respectively.