Himalaya Airlines, a Nepali-Chinese joint venture, commenced its aviation life last week with a flight to Colombo from Kathmandu.
The flight was planned to coincide with New Year celebrations in both Sri Lanka and Nepal.
“The flight intends to help promote tourism between Nepal and Sri Lanka and enhance people-to-people contact between the two countries,” the airline said.
Two Nepali companies — Himalayan Infrastructure Fund and Yeti World Investment — jointly have a 51 percent stake in the airline. Chinese operator ‘Tibet Airlines’ has a 49 percent stake. The airline was formerly known as Yeti Air International.
The first commercial flight was inaugurated by Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal WM Senevirathna, the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai, and Cheng Yiru, chairman of Tibet Airlines.
The airline commenced operations with a Airbus A320-214. Over the next five years, the airline aims to acquire 15 Airbus A320 family aircraft that will operate from Kathmandu to various cities in Asia and beyond.
Flights between the two countries will increase trade links and save money and time for passengers, the airline said. It will be a three-and-a-half hour flight compared with 10-15 hours currently spent via transit airports.
The airline offered round trip fares of 55,000 rupees for business class, and 35,000 rupees for economy class.