KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Nearly 50 percent of tickets for Dashain festival have already been booked, according to officials of different airline companies.
Private domestic carriers had opened booking for air tickets for Dashain festival about two weeks ago. With the Dashain festival beginning in 16 days, most of the private airlines say that they have received bookings for more than 50 percent of seats.
Except Tumlingtar, tickets are available for all the sectors, according to officials of different private airlines.
Rupesh Joshi, sales and marketing manager of Buddha Air, said that the airline has already received bookings for about 40 percent of the tickets available during Dashain festival. “All our flights to Tumulingtar during Dashain have already been sold out,” he said, adding that seats for other destinations like Bhairahawa, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Bharatpur and Pokhara, among others, are still available. "We expect demand for tickets to grow from the first week of October," he added.
Likewise, officials of Yeti Airlines also said that all their flights Tumlingtar during Dashain have already been booked. Bhimraj Rai, media manager of Yeti Airlines told Republica, that it would be very difficult to arrange tickets for Tumlingtar during Dashain festival. “Around 50 percent of tickets in all routes have already been booked,” he added.
Yeti Airlines added a new ATR 72-500 aircraft to its fleet few days ago. With this addition, Yeti Airlines now has three ATR 72-500s in its fleet.
"Though we cannot operate our new aircraft before Dashain festival, we will add flights on our existing routes to serve more passengers," Rai said, adding that the aircraft will begin commercial operation within October.
Shree Airlines also said that over 50 percent of seats available during Dashain have already been booked. "Booking is picking up slowly. We will get more pressure for tickets after a week," Anil Manandhar, corporate manager of Shree Airlines, told Republica. "We are planning to increase flights to some destinations during Dashain festival."
Though some say that there won't be much pressure for tickets this year as the troublesome Mugling-Narayanghat Road is now in good condition, Bhim Rai of Yeti Airlines said demand will be higher than last year as the number of air passengers increases every year.
All the airline companies are selling tickets during Dashain festival at regular airfare.
Meanwhile, state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is yet to open advance bookings for the Dashain festival. Officials of NAC said advance booking will begin a week before Ghatasthapana festival -- the first day of Dashain festival.