As Nepal Airlines Corporation has added two Airbuses in its fleet, Nepal’s international aviation sector has come in for certain changes. As Nepal Airlines has increased its frequency of flights, with on-time flights, the fare has come down heavily in certain sectors, including Indian Capital New Delhi, Gulf and Malaysia.
Before the resumption of flights to New Delhi by Nepal Airlines, the fare was four times higher than the present one. Once Nepal Airlines resumes flights, New Delhi fare has come down heavily with the number of Indian tourists also increasing.
As Nepal is targeting to bring a million tourists in Nepal by 2020, what Nepal requires is a strong national carrier with wide body aircraft to connect Nepal to different destinations.
“In the last five years, the number of Nepalese traveling to foreign countries has doubled. However, it takes almost 13 years to double the number of foreigners arriving in Nepal. Foreign airlines are carrying only Nepalese passengers, thus Nepal needs to strengthen Nepal Airlines to increase the number of tourists,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, Managing Director of Nepal Airlines, at a program organized to facilitate top ten travel agents who sold Nepal Airlines tickets. “Foreign tourists visiting Nepal has not increased because the fare to Kathmandu is expensive as foreign airlines fare to Nepal is double that compared for the same destinations in other countries.”
Studies have shown that a tourism-based country like Nepal needs to strengthen national flag carriers to increase the number of tourists. International Airlines care about margin of profits to choose the destinations. However, national flag carriers care about the national interest.
“If Nepal wants to increase the number of foreign tourists, there is the need of intervention by adding wide-body aircraft to Nepal Airlines,” said MD Kansakar addressing the agency award program. Nepal Airlines share in international passengers is 7.9 percent. Over 92 percent market is under foreign airlines control. Because of their monopoly in the market, the fare is still higher. Nepal Airlines market share was around 6 percent until Nepal Airlines added two airbuses.
The more Nepal Airlines increases its international flights, it will increase its market share bringing down the international fares. “If Nepal adds two wide body aircraft, Nepal Airlines market share will reach up to 17 percent. For the interest of the country, Nepal Airlines needs to purchase two wide body aircrafts,” said Kansakar.
He accused foreign airlines as focusing on Nepali passengers. Currently, twenty four different international airlines are operating their flights to Nepal and most of the flights concentrate on lucrative destinations.
With the induction of two airbuses, Nepal Airlines has also enhanced its reliability and punctuality in international flights. There were only a few cancellations and delays last year compared to previous years. “Our airline is now on time and punctual. We will maintain our current schedule,” said Managing Director Kanskar.
Nepal Airlines is currently operating its flights to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai in India, Bangkok, Doha, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
After induction of two airbuses, Nepal Airlines has already revived its past glory as a true Nepalese flag carrier flying on time. If Nepal really needs to increase the number of tourists, Nepal Airlines will need to have wide body aircraft to reach destination countries in Europe, Japan, USA and China.
Nepal Airlines requires wide body aircraft to start direct flights to the largest tourist market countries. As Nepal Airlines has experiences of operating its fight up to Europe and Japan, it can repeat its past glory given much needed aircrafts. Given the professional and experienced staffs and pilots in its hand, Nepal Airlines can make the difference.
Paying the installment of loan of two aircraft to Employee Provident Fund in time, Nepal Airlines has also shown that it is a profit making venture in Nepal and can pay the loan and interest in time.