Malaysia-based Malin-do Air is beginning scheduled-flights on Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu sector from February 6.
The airline has appointed Yeti Incentive Travels, a member of Yeti Group, as its general sales agent (GSA) in Nepal.
According to Yeti Incentive Travels, Malindo Air will operate daily flights on Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur with a Boeing 737-900ER. It will offer 160 seats in economy class and 12 in business class.
Chandran Ramamurthy, CEO of Malindo Air, said though Malindo Air is a hybrid airline, it provides full service in business class and best service in economy class. “We will try to bring foreign tourists to Kathmandu,” said Ramamurthy.
Saying that Malaysia has a huge number of middle-income earners who travel frequently, Ramamurthy said the airline hopes to bring more Malaysian tourists to Kathmandu.
Officials of Yeti Incentive Travels said introductory price for Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur flight will be fixed at around Rs 20,000. This, however, has not been finalized, they said.
Norbu Tshiring Sherpa, managing director of Yeti Incentive Travels, said Malindo Air will provide the best service at an affordable price. “We are confident that we will be able to stand out among our competitors within a few years,” he added.
Malindo Air is adding 100 aircraft in its fleet in the next 10 years. Initially, it will serve routes with flying distance of up to five hours from Kuala Lumpur. Ramamurthy said the airline plans to start services to Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and China within a few years.
Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said international passengers have increased significantly in the last five years. “The launch of new airline will contribute further in the growth of international passengers,” he added.
Malindo Air has received temporary operating permit (TOP) as two Malaysian carriers -- Malaysia Air and Air Asia -- are already operating 21 flights a week on Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu sector. The existing Air Service Agreement (ASA) allows carriers of Nepal and Malaysia to operate a maximum of 21 flights each per week. Suresh Acharya, joint secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said Malaysia has proposed to Nepal to revise ASA. “We are studying their proposal. Nepal and Malaysia are likely to revise ASA in February,” added Acharya.