August 19, 2016 12:07 AM NPT
First two flights sold out
KATHMANDU, Aug 19: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) resumed Dubai flights from Thursday. The national flag carrier will fly to Dubai three times a week - on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Issuing a statement, the national flag carrier said that the flights on Thursday and Sunday have been sold out. Similarly, more than 70 percent of tickets for Tuesday's flight has been already sold.
NAC had suspended its flight to Dubai five years ago due to lack of aircraft. At that time, NAC only had two ageing Boeing aircraft, which need to undergo regular maintenance, for international flights. However, the procurement of two Airbus A320-200 aircraft has given the national flag carrier more wings.
The Kathmandu-Dubai sector is considered lucrative for airlines mainly due to growing number of Nepali immigrant workers flying to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf countries.
NAC is currently using an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 757 aircraft for international flights. It flies to eight international routes including Dubai.
The airline expects to fly over 40,000 passengers in a year in the Dubai sector and earn US$10 million annually.
NAC's revenue from international flights was Rs 7.57 billion in 2015/16. It earned Rs 3.50 billion from ground handling services, taking its total revenue in 2015/16 to Rs 11.7 billion.
“The earning was only 65 percent of our target,” says Ramhari Sharma, the spokesperson for NAC. “We are planning to add more aircraft to increase revenue," he said, adding that the NAC had targeted to operate 2,766 flights but could operate only 2,736 flights.
The international sector is getting very competitive lately as almost three dozen international carriers fly to and from Kathmandu.