Himalaya Airlines connects Kathmandu and Beijing
KAROBAR CORRESPONDENT
Sunday, Oct 27, 2019
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Himalaya Airlines started Kathmandu-Beijing from Sunday.
The airlines gears up to meet the demand for inbound and outbound travelers from China this winter, by introducing its newest thrice weekly scheduled flight route from Kathmandu to Beijing, confirmed the Nepal-China joint venture airline operating internationally.
The airline launched its maiden flight today establishing the historical direct connectivity between the capital cities of the two countries. The new flight is the latest move in Himalaya Airlines’business strategy of network expansion to boost Nepal’s connection to China, which is an important trade partner for Nepal besides being the second largest market for tourist arrivals to Nepal. In recent years, the demand for seats has grown exponentially amongst both business and leisure passengers, not only increasing tourism traffic and revenue but also promoting vital trade agreements between the two countries.
This growth in Airlines’ network follows the revised Air Services Agreement (ASA) between Nepal and China in July 2019, which opened up five new points in China for the Nepali airline companies for 2019 and three more for the year 2020. The recent revision in ASA as well as the newly opened Daxing International Airport in Beijing has essentially given a way forward for Himalaya Airlines.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Nepal Hou Yanqi, and Secretary at MOCTCA Kedar Bahadur Adhikari along with the high ranking officials from CAAN and TIA were present for the pre departure inaugural flight cake cutting ceremony organized at the Radisson Airport Restaurant.
On the occasion, the president of Himalaya Airlines Zhou Enyong welcomed the invitees and shared that Himalaya Airlines’ KTM-PKX maiden flight on this auspicious occasion of Tihar festival, witnesses together this historical moment of first direct air service between the two capitals of Nepal and China. "This flight will certainly attract more Chinese tourists, especially from North China to visit Nepal," he said, adding that the route is expected to ship over 40,000 Chinese passengers a year to Nepal to spend money on travel and, to make investment or have business cooperation here, which will create a new engine for the development of the tourism industry chain and for all kinds of economic activities in Nepal.
Likewise, minister Bhattarai congratulated Himalaya Airlines for this important connectivity with China which will contribute to the targeted tourist arrivals of 500,000 Chinese travellers for VNY 2020.
Wishing for the successful operation of this direct connectivity, Chinese envoy to Nepal Hou Yanqi said that Nepal is an important international tourist destination and among the South Asian countries it is also the first choice to travel for Chinese tourists.
The inaugural flight KTM/PKX H9 665 departed from Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) on Sunday at 08:30 hours and touched down at Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) at 16:10 hours. The return flight from Beijing H9 666 will depart on the same day at 17:40 hours and will arrive KTM at 21:45 hours.
Meanwhile, Himalaya Airline's Kathmandu-Beijing flight H9 665 arrived at 1710 hrs in Beijing today, according to the Nepali Embassy in Beijing. The arrival of the flight was welcomed at Beijing's Daxing International Airport by Vice-Chairperson of Tibet Autonomous Region of China Luo Mei, ambassador Paudyal, as well as other high-level dignitaries from the Chinese government.
Speaking at a function to welcome the flight from Kathmandu, ambassador Paudyal said that the direct flight between the capital cities of Nepal and China would herald a new dawn in strengthening civil aviation cooperation between the two countries, and expressed the hope that it would help promote bilateral relations in trade, investment and people-to-people.
In today's inaugural flight, there were 59 passengers from Kathmandu to Beijing, and 70 passengers on the return flight from Beijing to Kathmandu.
The Airlines has a full-fledged office in Beijing, China to look after sales and marketing, market development, reservations and ticketing services, informed VP – Administration of the airlines Vijay Shrestha. "We are extremely happy to spread our wings to China," he said, adding that the addition of the new route to Beijing is a part of our wider commitment to VNY 2020, by attracting more Chinese tourists to the country. "In the context of BRI as well, Himalaya aims to open up the new avenues for corporate and industrial sector."
The airlines is planning to go to three new destinations: Guiyang, Changsha and Nanchang soon to make a better access to the China Market, he added. "The new flight to Beijing will provide seamless connectivity options for business people as well as tourists from China, offering yet more choice and convenience to our passengers."
The airline operates a fleet of three A320 with its scheduled service to Doha AbuDhabi, Dammam and Dhaka.