The capital and the most populous city of Nepal is connected to Saudi Arabia for the first time.
The capital and the most populous city of Nepal is connected to Saudi Arabia for the first time. Nepal Airlines Corporation, the flag carrier of the mountainous Asian region, launched its service from Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport.
The country’s primary international airport is located in Kathmandu and saw service commence to King Kahlid International Airport (RUH) earlier this week. Saudi Arabia is a significant destination for Nepali workers, and flights are scheduled to operate twice weekly between the capitals of the Asian nations.
The service debuted on Friday, April 22nd, and is the first of several routes recently approved between Kathmandu, which serves as a critical link to Mount Everest, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The launch event was attended by Yuvraj Adhikari, Executive Chairman of Nepal Airline Corporation, who congratulated the workers who made the direct air link possible:
“We are finally making our first launch flight today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, overcoming various obstacles. Special thanks to all who have contributed to the launch of this historic flight.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) granted additional permissions to the airline to operate in the cities of Dammam, a pivotal entryway to the island nation of Bahrain, in addition to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Resumption of flights
The announcement comes as Nepal’s flag carrier seeks to revive its network after a long period of suspension of all international flights, followed by a trial period allowing only 800 passengers a day. The flights will be operated on one of the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft.
The airline has gained approval has been granted for both wide and narrowbody aircraft to operate the route, a move which will enable the carrier to substitute its smaller Airbus A320 aircraft on the rotation as required to meet demand.
Flight time from Kathmandu to Riyadh is scheduled to take six hours and 15 minutes. At the same time, the return leg from the Riyadh-Kathmandu flight will take just under five hours. The airline will see competition from fellow Nepalese carrier Himalayan Airlines, which currently operates a narrowbody Airbus A320 several times weekly on the route.
Nepal Airlines has a history of operating a diverse feel of aircraft. Including the Chinese manufactured Xian MA60 and Harbin Y-12 aircraft and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters. The flag carrier previously flew to Riyadh in a series of repatriation flights, which also retrieved passengers from Jeddah, Amman, Doha, and Kuwait.
Nepal’s second international airport is now operational.
The country’s Gautam Buddha Airport is undergoing a significant overhaul to accommodate international passengers. A new 3,000-metre runway is now completed, with the former being converted into a taxiway alongside new facilities to handle the oncoming influx of international passengers. The airport has long served the neighboring village Lumbini, known as the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.
The first international links will include a thrice-weekly service to Kuwait on Jazeera Air will begin on May 16th to coincide with Buddha Jayanti. The festival marks Buddha’s birthday and day of enlightenment and is celebrated in Nepal on the full moon day of May.