KATHMANDU, Sept 20: As the festive season is nearing, domestic airlines are in a rush to accommodate the increased number of passengers from Kathmandu to their homes across Nepal.
The number of passengers flying to their homes for the Dashain festival has increased this year as many of the highways are in bad shape.
With increase in the number of passengers, airlines companies are busy scheduling additional flights for different domestic sectors to meet the increasing demand.
According to Binita Thapa, marketing manager of Buddha Air, almost 98 percent tickets of the airlines have been booked until Navami (the ninth day of Dashain) that falls on September 29 this year.
“We have already closed our bookings for Simara, Janakpur, Tumlingtar and Bhairahawa for now as the tickets were booked until Navami,” Thapa said: “Around 98 percent tickets for other destinations have also been booked for Dashain.”
Usually the rush starts from Ghatashthapana (first day of Dashain), so the airlines companies have added flight schedules after Ghatashthapana. After Dashami (the tenth day of Dashain) that falls on September 30, the number of passengers returning to Kathmandu increases.
“We are about to add flight schedules for Simara, Bharatpur, Bhairahawa, and Dhangadi soon after Ghatasthapana as the passenger flow is hard to manage,” Thapa added, “In other destinations also we will add flight schedules as per the demand.”
Yeti airlines has also sold its 95 percent tickets for Dashain. Bhim Raj Rai, media manager of Yeti Airlines, said that the passenger flow is high for Dashain.
“Due to people leaving Kathmandu, there is high load of one-side passengers before Dashami, and soon after the second day of Dashami the flow of passengers returning to Kathmandu increases. So we are ready to add flights accordingly.”
Rai assured that they were well prepared to meet the demand of their passengers.
Likewise, Saurya Airlines has also sold its 75 percent tickets for Dashain and some of the destinations have already received hundred percent booking. However, marketing chief of Saurya Airlines Mukesh Khanal said that the number of passengers has increased but the rush of flights is not so high as in the previous years.
“Passenger flow is high, but as new airlines companies have started flights with big aircraft, the passenger load has been spread out,” Khanal said, “This year, there are more options for air passengers than before.”
Khanal also said that the passenger flow was likely to increase after Ghatashthapana so they were preparing to add flights in different sectors.
Shree Airlines, which recently started domestic flights, is also in a rush to carry passenger from Kathmandu to different destinations.
“Of course the ticket booking is almost full for this Dashain,” said Anil Manandhar, marketing officer of Shree Airlines said. “However, looking at the flow of passenger, we might increase the flight schedules to meet the market demand.” According to Manandhar, there is more rush for flights to western Nepal than the eastern part of the country.
Competition among the airlines companies has brought down airfare this season, according to Khanal of Saurya Airlines. However, Shree, Buddha, and Yeti airlines have said that they were booking tickets at their regular rates.