Kathmandu: Himalaya Airlines, a private airline, has made preparations for the flights to four cities of China.
According to the Himalaya Airlines vice-president Vijay Shrestha, the airline has made preparations for flights to Beijing, Changsar, Nanchang, and Guiyang.
The new aviation agreement was signed during bilateral talks between Nepali and Chinese teams on August 5.
According to the agreement, Nepal and China will be able to fly up to 19 flights a week using 8 air routes and Nepal has received permission to fly to 15 Chinese airports.
After the bilateral agreement, Chinese avenues for Nepali aircraft have been opened and according to the same agreement, Himalaya Airlines has started preparing flights to four cities in China. Officials of Himalayan Airlines said that they have planned to start flights from October.
“We are in internal preparations. We can go to any of the four destinations in the initial phase, depending on the demands of the passengers. There is no fixed schedule. Our flight schedule can fluctuate according to the season. ‘,” said Vijay Shrestha, vice president of the Himalaya Airlines.
According to Shrestha, the initial phase will have three flights a week to all four destinations, flight times and schedules will be finalized soon and the number of flights will be increased gradually.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAN) has allowed the Himalaya Airlines seven flights a week. Last year, Himalaya Airlines had made a charter flight on the Chongqing-Kathmandu route once a week, targeting Chinese tourists.
Founded in August 2014, Himalaya Airlines has been flying to four international destinations: Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Dammam in Saudi Arabia, Dubai in the UAE and Doha in Qatar. Himalaya has three planes of Airbus A-320 series with the seating capacity of 158 among which one airbus is rented by Vietnam’s Bamboo Air for a year sometimes ago. In Himalaya Airlines, 51% of the investment is done by the operating company of Yeti Airlines: Yeti world investment and rest 49 % investment is done by Tibet Airlines.
Nepal’s first flight after 12 years
Nepali aircraft had not received flight permits in China for the last 12 years. Although the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation initiated the flight to China, the plan has not been materialized due to a lack of permission.
Himalaya Airlines is going to be the first airline company to fly to China after 12 years. Earlier, on April 12, the corporation had closed Japan’s flights via China due to a lack of long-distance flights. The corporation used to fly to Kathmandu – Shanghai – Osaka till 30 October 1994.
Nepali planes have not been able to enter China since the corporation’s flight was closed. Although the corporation initiated diplomatic initiatives for the flight to China some time ago, China has not permitted to fly, saying that the Chinese corporation will conduct a safety audit.
Number of Chinese tourists expected to rise
The number of Chinese tourists coming to Nepal has been increasing in the last few months. Shrestha claims that Nepali aircraft will help bring more tourists from China to Nepal after the flight begins. After Nepal provided a free visa to Chinese tourists, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal has increased tremendously.
India is ranked first in the number of tourists visiting Nepal and China is in the second position. Chinese tourists accounted for 14.4 percent of total tourist arrivals in Nepal last year.
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