NAC ramps up preparations for non-stop flights to Guangzhou, Tokyo
November 6, 2019 08:26 AM NPT
By: Muna Sunuwar
Photo: Dipesh Shrestha/Republica Files
‘Both flights likely by December-end’
KATHMANDU, Nov 6: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is preparing to start non-stop flights to China and Japan in next two months.
The national flag carrier will operate direct flight to Guangzhou from December if things go as planned, an official of NAC told Republica. Similarly, the airline is preparing to start scheduled flights to Narita International Airport of Tokyo from the last week of December.
NAC officials say it will spread wings in the Chinese sky once its safety audit report is released. Sulekh Mishra, the joint spokesperson for the NAC, told Republica that a technical team from China will visit Nepal this month to conduct safety audit. “The safety audit will be completed in the last week of November or the first week of December. The audit report will pave the way for the national carrier to fly to Beijing and Shanghai as well as Guangzhou,” he added.
While NAC is preparing to start flights to China, another Nepali carrier Himalaya Airlines started direct flights to Beijing from October 27. It is flying to Beijing two times a week. It plans to increase flight frequency to three times a week very soon. The airline, which is a joint venture between Yeti World Investment of Nepal and Tibet Civil Aviation Development and Investment Company of China, is already drawing plans to operate flights to other Chinese cities like Guiyang, Changsha, Nanchang, Ali and Shenzhen.
NAC, which began scheduled flights to Osaka two months ago, is now preparing to fly to Tokyo Narita. It operated two chartered flights to Tokyo Narita – one each in September and October – to prepare for the scheduled flights. NAC used Airbus A330-200 aircraft for both flights.
The national flag carrier had initially showed interest to fly to Tokyo. However, it chose Osaka as its destination in Japan due to delay in getting permission to fly to Tokyo.
“We have already started preparation for scheduled flights to Tokyo Narita. The preparations are at the last phase,” he added.
Unlike Osaka, NAC is hopeful of seeing good passenger footfall in Tokyo flight. “Initially, we will by flying three times a week to Tokyo. But we will add flights if there is demand,” Mishra added.
He also told Republica that the Osaka flights are also performing well. “Initially, it was a rocky ride for us as the NAC had resumed flights to Japan after a long time. We are gaining trust of our passengers now,” he added.