A Nepal Airlines Corporation Twin Otter aircraft is seen at the Sanfebagar airstrip in Accham district on Sunday. Photo: Khamma Khatri/Republica
ACHHAM, Oct 15: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has started regular commercial flight to Sanfebagar airport of Achham, a hilly district of far-western region, from Sunday.
The national flag carrier had successfully conducted test flight at the air strip few weeks ago.
NAC will operate two flights a week to Sanfebagar from Nepalgunj. The decision has elated locals of Achham as well as neighboring Bajura and Doti districts.
NAC has fixed the fare at Rs 4,735.
The airport was closed for nearly four years after Maoists attacked and destroyed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in 2001. Though it resumed operation for some years, the airstrip has remained closed since 2005.
The government had allocated Rs 120 million for renovation of Sanfebagar Airport in the last fiscal year. NAC had conducted the test flight after renovation works were completed.
Regular flight operation to Sanfebagar is expected to help in promotion of tourism in Achham and Bajura district, according to Kul Bahadur Kunwar, the mayor of Sanfebagar Municipality.
He said that he was hopeful of establishing air connectivity between Sanfebagar and Dhangadhi in the near future.
Ramaroshan, Baidhyanath and Bannigadhi of Achham and Badimalika and Khaptad of Bajura are already popular tourist destinations in the far-western region.
Regular flights to Sanfebagar will also save many lives, according to Tanka Dhungana, a local of the area. "Many people have lost their lives in the lack of treatment. Now, there will no more be such untimely deaths," he added.
Sanfebagar is the third remote destinations that the national flag carrier has added to its flight network in recent months. Before Sanfebagar, NAC started commercial flights to Lukla and Dang. The national flag carrier, which had curtailed its flights to remote destinations due to shortage of aircraft, among other reasons, is gradually resuming flights to those destinations.
NAC has a fleet of 13 aircraft -- five for international routes and eight for domestic routes. The national carrier operates two Airbus A320 series aircraft, two Airbus A330 series aircraft and an ageing Boeing 757 for international flights. Similarly, it has two MA 60s, four Y12e aircraft and two Twin Otters for domestic flights.