Himalaya Airlines begins commercial operation with flight to Colombo

Himalayan-Airline-1-copyHimalayan-Airline-2-copyHimalayan-Airline-3-copyHimalaya Airlines took to the skies on 12 April, operating its first commercial flight from Kathmandu to Colombo.

This flight was planned to celebrate the Sri Lanka-Nepal New Year. The airlines had offered irresistible round trip fare for passengers of this flight.

The flight intends to help promote tourism between Nepal and Sri Lanka and enhance people-to-people contact between the two countries. The Airbus 320-214 of Himalaya Airlines took off from Tribhuvan International Airport Kathmandu at 9:05 a.m. and landed in Colombo at 12:30 p.m.

The airline’s first commercial flight was jointly inaugurated by the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal W.M. Senevirathna the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai and Cheng Yiru, Chairman of Tibet Airlines.

The airline had offered round trip fare of Rs. 55,000 for business class and Rs. 35,000 for economy class. The airline welcomed its first aircraft Airbus 320-214 on 9 March. Over the next five years, the airline aims to acquire 15 Airbuses, 320 family aircrafts that will operate from Kathmandu to various cities in Asia and beyond. Himalaya Airlines is a new Nepal-China joint venture airline. Tibet Airlines holds 48.99% of equity capital of the company, whereas the Nepali side holds 51.01%.

The first operating flight from Kathmandu to Colombo will be a great encouragement for Sri Lanka to increase the number of tourists from Nepal and visiting tourists to Sri Lanka through Nepal. This will increase trade links between the two countries and also save money and time (3 and half hours instead of more than 10-15 hours transits) spent on travelling.

Nepal’s national flag carrier, previously known as Royal Nepal Airlines, operated direct flights to Colombo during the 1980s.

Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tourist source market for Nepal after India, China and the US. A total of 37,546 Sri Lankans visited Nepal in 2014.

Himalaya Airlines Administration Vice-President Vijay Shrestha said, “We are glad to offer the promotional offer to our passengers, on the occasion of the Nepali New Year, for them to celebrate the eve in Colombo. We are very thankful to our travel agencies for promoting this offer and getting us passengers at a very short notice.”

The plan to establish direct flights on the Kathmandu-Colombo route was revived during the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu on 26 November 2014. Subsequently, the Sri Lankan government officially applied for authorisation to conduct daily flights between the two countries with Colombo-based carrier Mihin Lanka planning to start services.

In March 2015, the Tourism Ministry had issued an operating authorisation to the carrier. But the plan was abandoned after last year’s devastating earthquake.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/536736/Himalaya-Airlines-begins-commercial-operation-with-flight-to-Colombo#sthash.Jxizbba6.dpuf


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