Kathmandu: Airlines in Nepal are going to resume scheduled mountain flights over the Himalayas following a suspension that lasted form more than four and a half months due to Covid, targeting mainly domestic and Indian tourists, industry representatives said.
Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines, the two prominent private airlines in Nepal, are planning regular mountain flights from Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
We conducted a chartered mountain flight for some Indian tourists last Saturday (September18), Rupesh Joshi, marketing and sales director at Buddha Air, told Xinhua news agency on Thursday.
Starting from the coming Saturday, we shall conduct one flight a week in the Himalayan mountains for sightseeing.
Sudarshan Bartaula, spokesperson for Yeti Airlines, said his company has been conducting chartered mountain flights for a month and is preparing to resume scheduled flights from Sunday.
Tickets have already been sold for Sunday’s flight, he said, adding Yeti initially plans one flight per week.
Mountain flights were halted along with the suspension of domestic flights on May 3 after the second wave of the pandemic struck Nepal in April.
Domestic flights resumed on July 1, but the airlines did not restart mountain flights at that time.
Mountain flights fly close to the Himalayas from the west to the east, as Nepal has eight of the world’s 14 tallest peaks in the world, including the highest Mt. Everest.
In the absence of foreign tourists, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines are offering a discounted fare of 8,500 NPR ($71) and 8,848 NPR ($74) to attract domestic and Indian tourists.
The country’s airlines has lost about 25 billion NPR in potential earnings due to flight restrictions enforced after the first and second waves of the pandemic hit the country in early 2020 and April this year, according to a recent report of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.