KATHMANDU, March 11: Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines is commencing daily flights on Chengdu-Kathmandu-Chengdu route via Lhasa from April 1.
According to Sunil Sharma, managing director of Society Travels — the general sales agent (GSA) of the airline, the airline will conduct test flight as per the rule of the Chinese government on March 31st and begin commercial operation from April 1.
“Our aircraft will depart from Chengdu at 7:30 am and arrive in Kathmandu via Lhasa at 10:10 am. It will leave Kathmandu at 11:10 am,” Sharma said. “It will be easier to get tickets to Lhasa once Sichuan starts operation.”
As only one airline connects Lhasa with Kathmandu at present, it is difficult to get tickets to the Tibetan capital.
Three Chinese airlines — Air China, China Eastern and China Southern — connect Kathmandu to different Chinese cities at present. Air China operates daily flights to Chengdu via Lhasa, while China Eastern flies to Kunming on a daily basis and China Southern operates double daily flights to Kathmandu from Guangzhou.
“We will soon launch promotional fare for one month. As Kathmandu is the gateway to Lhasa, the operation of Sichuan Airlines will help to bring more tourists to Nepal,” Sharma added.
Sichuan Airlines that started operation from 1988 operates a fleet of 94 Airbus aircraft. The airline will operate Airbus 319 series aircraft for Nepal flights. It has 120 seats including eight business class seats.
“Sichuan will have 110 aircraft by the end of 2015,” he added.
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) granted permission to Sichuan Airlines to operate flights to Nepal in February.
With the increase in number of Chinese tourist visiting Nepal, more Chinese airlines are coming to Nepal and existing airlines are also increasing flight frequency. According to MoCTCA data, Nepal welcomed 113,173 tourists from the northern neighbor in 2013.
News Source: myrepublica.com