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Himalayan and Sourya

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Two new private airlines poised to start operations

Bombardier CRJ 200

Bombardier CRJ 200. Source: RSS

The tourism industry is cautiously optimistic about the launch of a new joint venture private international airline, and a new domestic airline in Nepal.

Himalayan Airlines is a joint venture between Tibet Airlines of China and Nepali investors that include HIF Aviation Investment and Yeti Air International.  At a signing ceremony on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency, Himalayan Airlines announced it will start operations with Kathmandu to Lhasa and Chengdu flights on 28 October.

The company is acquiring two Airbus 319 Series 2 aircraft and has options for three more Airbus 320s as its network expands to points in India, the Gulf and Hong Kong. The airline said it is also eying direct flights through wide body aircraft to Europe by next year if demand picks up.

“You may ask what a banker is doing investing in an airline,” Prithvi Bahadur Pande of HIF Aviation said at the ceremony, “but we have realised the vast untapped potential for tourism and aviation in Nepal.”

Cheng Yiru of Tibet Airlines said his company specialised in ultra-high altitude operations on the Plateau and said it made strong business sense for the tourism development of Tibet to partner with a Nepali company. “The joint venture will build on the age-old trans-Himalayan connection between Nepal and China,” he added.

Chinese Ambassador Wu Chun Tai stressed that this was a business-to-business joint venture, adding that it would further enhance Nepal-China cooperation in investment, trade and tourism. “Just as the Himalaya is a monument linking Nepal and China, Himalaya Airlines marks a new monument in economic cooperation between the two countries,” he added.

Himalaya Airlines with a paid up capital of $25 million has majority shares of its Nepali partners, while Tibet Airlines holds 49%. The airlines will create at least 1,000 new jobs in Nepal and will pay millions in tax revenue and fees to the government.

Domestic jet service

Meanwhile, Sourya Airlines is starting domestic operations with Bombardier CRJ 200 jets that will cut current turboprop flight time to and from Kathmandu on trunk city routes nearly half.

Sourya’s first 50-seater Bombardier CRJ landed in Kathmandu on Monday and will be connecting Kathmandu and Dhangadi, Nepalganj, Bhairawa, Biratnagar and Bhadrapur with the first jet service since Cosmic Air terminated its F100s. The airline says it is adding another CRJ200 next year. The airline was launched with overseas Nepali investment, and former pilots of Buddha Air and Yeti.

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One Response to “Himalayan and Sourya”

  1. Praveen Singh on Says:

    Thank you for launching Himalayan Airlines.

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