Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China joint venture airline operating internationally, gears up to meet the demand for inbound and outbound travelers from China this winter, by introducing their newest thrice weekly scheduled flight route from Kathmandu to Beijing, the capital city of People’s Republic of China.
The airline launched its maiden flight on October 27, 2019, 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 between the Government of 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. This recent revision in ASA as well as the newly opened Daxing International Airport in Beijing has essentially given a way forward for Himalaya Airlines.
Mr. Yogesh Bhattarai, the Honorable Minister for Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Her Excellency Ms. Hou Yanqi, the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Nepal and Mr. Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, Secretary – MOCTCA 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.
Mr. Zhou Enyong, the President of Himalaya Airlines welcomed the invitees and shared “I feel overwhelmingly excited and proud that we are embracing Himalaya Airlines’ KTM-PKX maiden flight on this auspicious occasion of Tihar festival, witnessing 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. This 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.”
Honorable Minister Mr. Yogesh 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, Her Excellency Ms. Hou Yanqi stated “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 October 27, 2019 at 08:30 hours and is expected to touch 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. The Airlines has a full-fledged office in Beijing, China to look after sales and marketing, market development, reservations and ticketing services etc.
Acknowledging the support extended by all the Government offices, Mr. Vijay Shrestha, VP – Administration commented “We are extremely happy to spread our wings to China. The addition of this 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. We are planning to go to three new destinations: Guiyang, Changsha and Nanchang soon to make a better access to the China Market. 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. We are sure this new service will be the most sought after connection while visiting China”
The airline operates a fleet of three A320 with its scheduled service to Doha Abu Dhabi, Dammam and Dhaka. In addition, the airline has already announced its plan to increase its fleet with induction of two A319 aircraft by the end of 2019/beginning of 2020. With this service, Himalaya Airlines will be the only Nepali airline to operate direct flights between both the countries.