Himalaya Airlines announces new partnership with Tibet Civil AviationThe carrier plans to operate direct services between Kathmandu and Beijing from October 27.
Vijay Shrestha, vice-president of administration of Himalaya Airlines, said that the deal with Tibet Civil Aviation Development and Investment had been completed, and that they had started the formal process to obtain foreign direct investment approval from the Department of Industry.
Shrestha said there were no changes in the share structure. Tibet Civil Aviation Development and Investment will hold a 49 percent stake in Himalaya Airlines while Yeti World Investment, an affiliate of the Yeti Airlines Group, owns the remaining 51 percent.
As per its rebranding strategy, the Nepal-China joint venture carrier unveiled a new livery showing a soaring eagle over the Himalayan peaks. The airline also announced the new destinations it would be serving, including Beijing.
“We will begin direct services between Kathmandu and Beijing on October 27,” said Shrestha. The private Nepali carrier plans to operate three weekly flights to Beijing Daxing International Airport.
Daxing International Airport in the Chinese capital was formally opened by President Xi Jinping last Wednesday. The airport sprawls over 700,000 square metres, or as large as 98 football fields, and is the world's second busiest hub after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, US.
Himalaya Airlines also plans to resume flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 27. The carrier applied to fly the Kathmandu-Delhi route four years ago, but it is yet to get operating authorisation. Airline officials said they were still hopeful of operating services to the Indian capital.
Zhou Enyong, president of Himalaya Airlines, said, “We shall soon be adding Beijing, Lhasa, Nanchang, Guiyang, Changsha and other cities of China to our network. The Beijing direct flight from Kathmandu especially will mark the first ever capital-to-capital direct flight between Nepal and China, giving great significance to the bilateral exchanges and cooperation of the two countries. With our vision of the new Chinese sectors being opened soon, I believe Himalaya Airlines could make greater contributions to the Visit Nepal 2020 initiative by bringing more tourists to Nepal,” he said.
Currently, five Chinese carriers—Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines and Tibet Airlines—operate flights to Nepal. However, no Nepali carrier currently flies to China.
The national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation used to operate services to the Japanese city of Osaka via Shanghai until 2008 under fifth freedom rights.
Himalaya Airlines inducted its first aircraft, an Airbus A320, in March 2016 and launched commercial operations in May with flights between Kathmandu and Doha. The airline is in the process of acquiring an Airbus A319 narrow-body jet for the Beijing flight.