KATHMANDU, Aug 21: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has completed preparations to operate its scheduled commercial flight on the Kathmandu-Osaka-Kathmandu route on August 29.
The NAC, organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday, said that the corporation was all set to fly to Osaka on the designated date.
The national carrier will use Airbus A330-200 aircraft with the capacity of 274 passengers for Osaka flights. An official of the NAC said that the first flight to Osaka has received a positive response from the public.
"Bookings will pick up pace from the last week of September," said Madan Kharel, executive chairman of the NAC.
The national flag carrier had initially planned to fly to Tokyo International Airport and Tokyo Narita International Airport, but later it decided to fly to Osaka as the Japanese authorities refused to give permission to fly to the other two cities.
However, the corporation has applied for chartered flights to Narita. It has scheduled to fly to Narita on September 26 and October 2. The flights will return the next day of their departure from Nepal.
The NAC's wide body aircraft, Airbus A330-200, will be used for the chartered flights.
The corporation had earlier announced to start Osaka flights from July 5. However, poor bookings prompted it to postpone the flights.
The NAC will operate Osaka flights three times a week – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The flight will depart Kathmandu at 2:30 am and land Osaka at 11:55 am (local time). The NAC has introduced promotional fare for the flights – Rs 36,999 for one way and Rs 72,814 for round trip – reducing from the previously fixed rates of Rs 45,000 and 75,000- 90,000, respectively. "The promotional fare will be valid till September," Kharel said.
The company is resuming direct flights to Osaka after a hiatus of 12 years. It had started flying to Osaka via Shanghai in 1994, but the flight was suspended in 2007 due to shortage of aircraft. The NAC had then used Boeing 757 aircraft for the sector.
Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) permitted the NAC to resume its flight to Osaka after Nepal and Japan signed Exchange of Notes on revising the Air Service Agreement earlier this year.
The resumption of direct flights is expected to benefit Nepalis residing in Japan and also Japanese tourists visiting Nepal. The operation of direct flights to Osaka is expected to help the corporation recover its losses. "The flights will also contribute to the VNY 2020 campaign," Kharel further added.
The NAC has been operating scheduled flights to New Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Mumbai, and Bangalore with two Airbus A320-200 and two Airbus A330-200 airplanes.