Private owned company ‘Buddha Air’ has planned to start direct flights from Kathmandu to Kolkata in India. For the flight, Buddha Air will use its 72-seater ATR 72-500 series aircraft and one can reach the destination within one and half hours.
According to Birendra Bahadur Basnet, managing director of Buddha Air, the airline has started preparation to commence the flight and has planned to start commercially from September 1, 2018 to Kolkata three times a week.
According to the officials, the airline has started searching General Sales Agent (GSA) and will make efforts to find partner rather than just a GSA. MD Basnet said that the main focus passengers will be tourists from the West Bengal state of India to Nepal as around 60 million Indian tourists are international tourists and among them around 2 lakh visit Nepal, mostly being Bengalis. He also stated that attractive fares will be issued so as to bring at least 75 percent Bengali tourists in every flight which is around 50 people.
Buddha Air said that they are not competing with India’s state-owned carrier Air India which is operating four flights a week on the route as passengers of Air India are mostly corporate, labor and business travelers.
Buddha Air has taken this step to upgrade itself into Jet era and after the successful flight to Kolkata, the airlines will aim to fly to third country with a Jet engine aircraft. Buddha Air also has already got permission to fly to international destination which takes around 2 and half hours with the ‘turboprop’ planes from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and also has permission from India to fly to Kolkata.
For two decades Buddha Air has been flying to domestic destination overtaking around 63% of market and also chartered flight to Paro in Bhutan and Vanarasi in India. Currently there are 850 workers in the company and has planned to commence international flight from Pokhara International Airport from August of 2021.
Currently, the airlines has four 72 seater ATR 72-500, three 47 seater ATR 42-320, and two 18 seater Beachcraft-1900D series aircraft and has successfully flown 10 million passengers and is providing service to 1 million tourists yearly.
The airlines is providing services to Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Simara, Janakpur, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur, Pokhara, Dhangadi and Tumlingtar from Tribhuwan International Airport. It is also conducting ‘Mountain Flights’. The airline also has one of the best workshop hanger in South Asia which provides maintenance service to Nevo Air and Hello Air aircraft of Bangladesh.