Nepal Airlines returns to Mumbai; two weekly flights to Kathmandu

Nepal Airlines, the national carrier of the Himalayan country, is returning to Mumbai from Friday after exiting nine years ago, with two direct weekly flights to Kathmandu.

As a promotional offer, it is offering a buy-two-get-one offer at Rs 14,000 for a round-trip ticket. The offer is valid through September, the airline said. 

"We are reentering Mumbai from tomorrow with two weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays). We want to increase the frequency to three soon. The Mumbai entry follows resumption of our successful operations from Delhi from February and from Bangalore from September 1," airlines' commercial director Saroj Kasaju told PTI.

The airline will be operating from the new T2 terminal of Mumbai airport.

Kasaju said the airline was operating from these three cities till 2006 when it had to quit because of unavailability of aircraft. 

Recently the airline bought two brand new Airbus A320s, he said, adding the airline is also planning to order wide-body A330s in a year. 

The airline is making money despite having only four planes (two Airbus 320s and two Boeing 757s) and being fully owned by the government unlike its counterpart here Air India which has been bleeding for years. Prior to 2006 Nepal Airlines was also operating from Kolkata and Patna.

"We are also keen to add Kolkata to our network shortly, but it is too early to say anything more concrete on that as we are still studying the market," Kasaju said. 

He said the airline is filling up to 70-80 per cent seats from both New Delhi and Bangalore (Tuesdays and Saturdays).
Kathmandu is served by 26 international airlines, including Air India and IndiGo (Spicejet discontinued operations after the earthquake and will resume from December), while Nepal Airlines connects 7 international destinations like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai, Doha, apart from the three Indian cities, Kasaju said, adding it will be flying to Canton in China from next year.

When asked about the passenger profile from Nepal, he said almost 30 per cent each are Nepalese and Indians while the rest are international passengers.

Kasaju said most of the Indians flying into Nepal are pilgrims (Kailash-Mansarovar being the top destinations) and MICE travellers. 

The airline has appointed Bird Group as its sole general sales agent. The airlines' website is not enabled to sell
tickets online, he said.

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