Reopening of airfields, launch of new routes elate airlines

Published On: May 3, 2018 03:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 3: Reopening of airports and launch of new flight routes in different parts of the country has elated airline companies.

Long-abandoned airfields in different parts of the country are being reopened at the initiation of local representatives and business leaders. Along with assurance of seat occupancy from local units, domestic airlines have started operating flights to several airports that have remained non-functional for many years. 

Balewa airport in Baglung resumed operation on March 23 after nearly three decades of closure. The airfield is now 45 minutes away from Kathmandu via air route. Currently, Tara Air and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) are operating two flights a week on Sundays and Thursdays, respectively, to the airfield.

Talking to Republica, Bhim Raj Rai, media coordinator of Yeti Airlines, said that they were enjoying more than 80 percent seat occupancy to new destinations. 
Yeti Airlines is the parent company of Tara Air. 

 Similarly, Rabindra Shrestha, the spokesperson for NAC, said that the NAC was also enjoying full seat occupancy in Balewa sector.

Buddha Air started scheduled flights to Bharatpur and Bhairahawa from Pokhara from September 15. The airline, which started flights on these routes with one weekly flight, has now raised frequency to two flights a week. “We are enjoying more than 80 percent seat occupancy on these routes," Binita Thapa, marketing manager of Buddha Air, told Republica. 

She, however, said that there was no immediate plan of increasing frequency further on these routes. 

Similarly, Buddha Air and NAC have recently started direct flights to Surkhet from Kathmandu, starting April 14. Both the airlines are satisfied with the seat occupancy so far. 

"We are getting good traffic in this sector as well," Thapa added. 
Likewise, Tara Air is flying one weekly flight to Dang airfield which resumed flight operation earlier in January. People there are urging the airlines to increased flight frequency.

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