KATHMANDU, June 27: The national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), is to operate flights destinations in China and Saudi Arabia along with Japan.
NAC, which is preparing to operate flights to Osaka of Japan beginning last week of August, is gradually expanding its destinations to China and Saudi Arabia. It has called for a tender some days back for appointing the general sales agent for Saudi Arabia. The corporation has made a global call for tender for passengers and cargo as well.
It is stated that the appointment of the GSA will be finalized within one month. NAC assistant spokesman Nawaraj Koirala said preparations have been made for starting flights to Riyadh of Saudi Arabia before the Dashain festival by fulfilling the GSA process by September.
"We have already called for a tender for GSA in connection with the flight to Saudi Arabia. The flights would be started by October after carrying out the audit by calling the civil aviation authority of Saudi Arabia," he said.
NAC has plan of operating flights to Riyadh three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The flight to Saudi Arabia is especially targeted to the Nepali youths going for foreign job.
Meanwhile, NAC has made preparations to operate Kathmandu-Osaka direct flight from August 29, 2019, as scheduled. Although the plan was to operate flights on this route from July 4, NAC had to change its plan citing only a few tickets bookings and unfavorable tourist visiting season. The flights to Kansai airport, Osaka would be operated three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Similarly, the national flag-carrier has forwarded the process for operating direct flights to the Narita International Airport, the main destination of Japan. A NAC team including its chairman Madan Kharel held discussion with the officials of the Japan Civil Aviation Authority recently. NAC's assistant spokesman Koirala said a climate conducive for operating flights to Narita has been created after the bilateral meeting.
According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), 29 thousand 817 Japanese tourists came to visit Nepal from Japan in 2018.
NAC is also making initiatives to operate flights to various destinations in China as well. It is stated that all the paperwork has been completed for operating flights to Guangzhou of China. Koirala said they hoped to get the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation of China for the operation of flight on this route within 20 days.
China is an appropriate source country of visitors to Nepal. One hundred fifty-three thousand six hundred and thirty-three tourists came to Nepal from China in 2018.
NAC is exploring additional destinations including Japan, China, and Saudi Arabia as per its plan of operating flights on long routes using its wide-body A-330 plane. It has said initiatives are being taken to operate flights also to South Korea in this connection.
Nepal Airlines has been presently operating flights to New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai of India, to Malaysia, Singapore, Bangkok, and Qatar. It has been operating flights to international destinations from its two wide-body aircraft A-330, two narrow-body aircraft, A-320, and one Boeing 757 aircraft.