KATHMANDU, Oct 24: Himalaya Airlines, an international air carrier of Nepal, has started direct flights to Chongqing from Kathmandu. The inaugural flight last Friday also marked the first air connectivity of Kathmandu with this Chinese city.
With the beginning of the flight, the airline aims to bring more Chinese tourists to Nepal. This charter flight by a private sector airlines operating under a Nepal-China joint venture has come amid growing numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal.
A total of 109,497 Chinese tourists arrived in Nepal in the first nine months of 2018, which is a growth of 48.8 percent over the same period of 2017. This is an exponential growth, as China now holds second ranking after India with its share of 14.17 percent in the total tourist arrivals in Nepal till September.
According to a press release issued by the airline, it is focusing on Nepal-China connectivity with plans to add flights to other major cities like Beijing, Haikou, and Nanchang.
Chongqing, one of the centrally administered municipalities in China along with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, offers remarkable attractions to visitors, the company said.
Chongqing is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, and it serves as an economic and manufacturing center apart from being a transportation hub for southwestern China.
Foreign airline companies have had major stake in air service to Nepal, however, Nepal’s national flag carrier Nepal Airlines has also expanded its international flights recently after purchasing two wide-body Airbus planes. It has also announced to bring more wide-body planes to restore all its past flights, that went as far as Heathrow Airport in London and Germany’s Frankfort Airport.