Looks like the airlines of Nepal providing services to STOL-Short Take Off and Landing airports of Nepal are going to face a strong competitor as Managing Director of Buddha Air, Birendra Bahadur Basnet exposed his ambitious plan to extend his company’s flight services to rural areas of Nepal. Within a year from this date, Buddha Air has aimed to add two STOL aircraft most probably Twin Otters to fly to the rural airports of Nepal.
This is the first time the director has opened up with media about the plan of the addition of 10 brand new STOL aircraft to extend services to rural areas of Nepal. And he also said that the homework and research process has already begun. Previously, the airlines had stated to add narrow-bodied jet engine aircraft to extend its services to new international destinations as well as the present destinations Varanasi and Kolkata. The company had meetings with Boeing and Airbus also for the purpose of feasibility studies and the fleet addition process is still going on.
The airliner has been flying to the trunk and few international destinations and is one of the leading private airliners of the country. The airline is also the largest operator of ATR aircraft in Nepal. A separate company would be registered to operate the new STOL aircraft with an estimated investment of 6 Billion Nepalese Rupees. The aircraft Buddha Air interested in is probably Viking Twin Otters, which he didn’t disclose. It’s unit price cost USD 6.5 Million and it is the most popular STOLcraft over the world.
The sectors of Gulmi, Khotang, Lukla, Bhojpur, Ramechhap and other rural areas will the priority destinations according to the director. Also, the airliner will put pressure on the Government to establish new airports in most rural places of Nepal to extend its flight services. The company has committed to providing service in Government illustrated airfare in any sector it would operate without compromising any safety and comfort of passengers it has been providing since 22 years since its establishment.
This definitely provides a big hope for the aviation industry of Nepal, but the plans and strategies of airlines take a lot of time to come into action. Because of Government policies, and very vague aviation complexity, many plans of many airlines go in vain. But, Buddha Air has always been dedicated to accomplishing its ambition, hence we could expect a little more from Buddha Air at least.