Himalaya Airlines, a joint venture between Nepal and China, is pleased to announce the inaugural flight of its highly anticipated Kathmandu-Shanghai-Kathmandu flight service, which commenced on December 02, 2023. This historic event will mark a significant milestone in Himalaya Airlines’ commitment to enhancing connectivity and promoting bilateral ties between Nepal and China.
The new Kathmandu-Shanghai-Kathmandu route will offer passengers seamless travel options between the capital city of Nepal and the central coastal city of China, known for the country’s biggest city and a global financial hub. This direct link between the cities reflects Himalaya Airlines’ dedication in providing convenient, safe, and efficient travel.
The first outbound flight, H9 780, departed from Tribhuvan International Airport at 09:50 hours (local time) and will arrive Shanghai Pudong International Airport, at 16:31 hours (local time), with a flight duration of 4 hours and 7 minutes. A total of 137 passengers along with an infant boarded the first flight.
Initially operating weekly flight on every Saturday effective December 02, 2023, the service will increase to twice a week, on every Saturdays and Wednesdays, starting from December 20, 2023. This signifies the third direct connection Himalaya Airlines establishes between China and Nepal, alongside regular flight operations to Beijing and Qingdao.
The inaugural flight event was graced by the Mr. Xie Yu, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the People’s Republic of China to Nepal as the chief guest along with Mr. Pratap Babu Tiwari, General Manager, Tribhuvan International Airport and with other dignitaries who were welcomed by Mr. Zhou Enyong, President, and Mr. Vijay Shrestha, Vice-President of Himalaya Airlines.
In his welcome address, Mr. Vijay Shrestha, remarked, “the longstanding aviation history shared by Nepal and China, spanning two decades since China initiated its inaugural passenger flights to Nepal. Over this extensive period, China has emerged as the leading contributor of airlines serving Nepal, with a total of 6 airlines from China operating alongside Himalaya Airlines.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Himalaya Airlines operated flights to 5 destinations. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the airline is actively endeavoring to swiftly restore flight frequencies within a short timeframe, foreseeing a significant increase in flights to various destinations in China in the foreseeable future.
The current destinations serviced by Himalaya Airlines primarily cater to tourism. Pre-pandemic, China was catering for approximately 160 million outbound tourists worldwide. Post-pandemic, China is diligently working to recover and enhance tourism to various global destinations, among which Nepal remains a highly preferred outbound destination.
Himalaya Airlines is getting ready to expand its destinations this month, including Chongqing and Lhasa in its upcoming flights where Lhasa will be the most historical flight connection between Nepal and China.”
On his special remarks, Mr. Pratap Babu Tiwari, congratulated Himalaya Airlines for the inaugural flight to Shanghai, with the expansion of new destination, a vibrant and a global market hub and one of the major cities of China. “It is truly and exciting milestone for the airline and the airlines commitment in providing outstanding service connecting passengers with new and diverse experience.” Mr. Tiwari, wished the airlines all the success to spread their wings to new horizons and create more opportunities for travel and attracting more Chinese Tourist to Nepal, connecting ties and relationship between the two nations attracting tourism and freights.
With the challenging times of the Covid period, we are back to the pre Covid period as we are witnessing significant increase in the passenger traffic with almost 14 thousand passengers inbound and outbound each day with around 100 daily flights.
“Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, is working closely with all the related stakeholders and are committed to expand the terminal infrastructure, exploring ways to facilitate passengers and airlines to further opening with transit facilities with the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders.”, he further added.
Mr. Xie Yu on his key address, extended congratulations to Himalaya Airlines for the commencement of the inaugural flight from Kathmandu to Shanghai. “The airline’s success in broadening its network, starting from the maiden flights to Beijing and Qingdao and now culminating in Shanghai, marks a significant milestone. Additionally, the airline is slated to include Chongqing and Lhasa within its schedule this month. Shanghai stands as one of China’s foremost and most pivotal cities, and Himalaya Airlines takes pride in pioneering the direct flight to this crucial destination. The direct flight to Shanghai holds immense significance for Himalaya Airlines, given the city’s status as the largest with a population of 40 million, serving as a hub for technology and manufacturing. This new route presents a remarkable opportunity for the expansion of Nepalese business in China.”
Mr. Xie Yu also commended Himalaya Airlines for its commendable efforts during the Covid period, notably for providing invaluable assistance in repatriating both Nepalese and Chinese citizens. Furthermore, the airline’s contribution in transporting Covid-19 vaccines from China to Nepal was acknowledged as a crucial endeavor during these challenging times.
With the introduction of this new route, Himalaya aims to create memorable travel experiences while maintaining the highest safety standards. We look forward to welcoming travelers on board our flights and helping them explore the beauty and opportunities that both Nepal and China have to offer.