Kathmandu, January 20
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has announced that it is commencing commercial flights to Narita in Japan from March 2.
The introductory airfare of Kathmandu-Narita flight has been set at Rs 80,000 per person for a round-trip ticket and Rs 40,000 per person for a one-way ticket. As per the corporation, the fare might differ in the coming future.
In the initial phase, two flights per week on Tuesdays and Saturdays will be operated from Kathmandu to Narita, according to Ganesh Chand, spokesperson for NAC. “We have received permission for three flights a week, however, in the first phase we will operate only two flights a week and soon after begin operating three flights a week,” he said. “The third flight to Narita will probably be on a Thursday.”
Though NAC had applied for permission to operate flights to Narita before Osaka, it started operating commercial flights to the latter destination from August 29 last year. “Looking at the market potential, we had applied for Narita first, but due to some technical issues we received the flight operation permission only recently,” he added.
As Narita is comparatively closer to Tokyo, NAC expects the new service to ease Nepalis working and studying in the capital city of Japan, he said.
Chand further said that the flight will also help to transport more number of Japanese tourists travelling to Nepal at comparatively less price.
While NAC is struggling to expand its business for wide-body aircraft, the corporation expects the flights to Narita to help improve its financial health.
Meanwhile, NAC is also preparing to begin its regular flights to Guangzhou in China from March 15. After a long wait, on December 4, China permitted Nepal to operate flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
Spokesperson Chand said that NAC will now focus on enhancing its business in these newly added destinations along with the existing destinations. “At the same time, we will be focusing on expanding our businesses to other destinations,” he added.
It has to be noted that NAC’s former executive chairman Madan Kharel resigned from the post on Sunday after receiving the direction to put in the papers from the Prime Minister’s Office. While being appointed at the helm of the national flag carrier, he had been tasked, among other things, to turn around the financial health of NAC. However, he had come under fierce criticism from many quarters for failing to meet the expectations and also for prioritising Osaka flights rather than Narita, among other issues.
A version of this article appears in print on January 21, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.