2017 recorded 39.47 % increment in domestic air passenger as the airline increased aircraft with new destinations to accommodate growing number of air travelers. Record number of passengers i.e. record 2.45 million passengers chose to take air transportation which is 6, 93,794 more than that of 2016 as per Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Among the number, 40,349 were flown by helicopter companies and single-engine aircraft.
As airlines added around dozens of the aircraft, Nepali skies saw an average of 255 domestic flight movements per day making it the most productive year for Domestic airline industry of the country. The number of domestic flight movement in 2016 was around 200 per day. Spokesperson of Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) Ghanashyam Acharya told that in 2017 passenger traffic grew exponentially and in 2018 also this may increase as per market demand.
Acharya added that domestic airline industry was also boosted by rise of foreign tourist movement but lack of infrastructure in the only international airport of the country TIA is causing problems for airlines to cope with increasing travelers and passengers. This has led for increase in air traffic congestion which ultimately leads to flight cancellation and delays increasing the operation cost of the airlines company.
There was gradual increment in air traveler from 2008 due to protests and road blockage along with increase from NGO/INGO staff movement because of the ongoing peace process and a real estate boom but was in decline from 2012. In 2008 there was 13% increase which leapt to 33% in 2009 due to fares cut as there was great competition. The increase in 2010 was 12.83% which gradually dropped in 2011 and showed negative growth from 2012 to 2015.
The negative marking reversed in 2016 with total of 73, 876 flights making 12.16% increase than that of 2015. Acharya considers poor condition of national highways and competitive airfare as factors attracting air passengers.
Buddha Air recorded 25.44% increase in passenger as there were 1,268,821 flying through the airlines in 2017 which is highest among all the domestic airlines in Nepali Aviation Industry followed by yeti Airlines which recorded 35.735 increases with 554,745 passengers flying via this airline however its subsidiary Tara Air that operates in remote sector only had 7.48% decline. Saurya Airline had 101.77% increase than that of 2016 whereas Shree Airlines; Nepal’s largest Helicopter company flew 115,600 passenger since its commencement from April 2017.
Similarly Nepal airlines had 97.63% increase with 95100 passengers using the airline. Simrik and Summit air had 33.61% and 31.10% increase receptively. Sita Air provided services to 21640 passengers which was 11.96% more than that of 2016.