Nepal Airlines has managed to reach at the second spot in terms of international passenger carriage. The national flag carrier flew 2, 10,131 passengers in the first six months of 2017, nearly double the figure of the first half of last year.
According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the passengers’ traffic grew exponentially at 12.79 percent at the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year, with 1.87 Million passengers from January to June to reach at second place Nepal Airlines with Jet Airways at the top.
While Jet Airways carried 187,666 passengers with a growth of 11.22 percent in one year topping the list, low cost carrier air Arabia which stood third after Nepal Airlines flew 166,106 passengers with a growth of 14.89 percent.
A Jet Airways topped the list of carriers with the highest number of passengers, marking a massive turnaround after years in the wilderness. Jet Airways is a Private Indian Carrier which serves Delhi with three flights and Mumbai with two flights daily, flew 227,512 passengers in the first six months of this year, up 47.62 percent.
Fly Dubai secured third position with a passenger carriage growing up to 17 percentages, as it flew with total 168,677 passengers. Similarly Air Arabia dropped its percentage by 6.68 carrying 155,004 passengers and grabbed as the fourth position. Both Fly Dubai and Air Arabia have been operating its flight as a low-cost carrier.
Doha Qatar Airways slipped to fifth place with 25.46 percent drop in passenger carriage to 155,004 in the first six months of 2017. Indian Airlines saw its passenger numbers increased by 8 percent to 97,462.The Malaysia-based low-cost airline Malindo Air saw the strongest passenger occupancy recording 132.56 percent growth. It flew 68,115 passengers in the review period. However, another low-cost carrier from Malaysia, Air Asia, saw its passenger number dropping by a whopping 50.69 percent to 43,375.
Meanwhile, Thai Airways saw its passenger numbers rise by 4.78 percent to 84,373 in the review period. The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways flew 65,796 travellers, down 18.28 percent.
Nepali carrier Himalaya Airlines that started its first scheduled flight operations in May last year, flying directly to Doha of Qatar, carried 56,213 passengers in the first six months of this year.
China Southern Airlines that had resumed flight from April 2016 also saw a very strong growth. The carrier flew 60,515 during the review period.
According to the TIA stats, aircraft movement at TIA has also risen up by 31.86 percent to 16,469 flights. Currently 28 international airlines, including three Nepali carriers have been serving at country’s sole international airport with increase of flight frequency from Chinese airlines, six airlines from China conducts flight to Nepal.
Chinese Airlines have topped the list for becoming the highest international flight operators in Nepal. At present six airlines from China conducts flight operation to Nepal. Previously, the number of operators was five before Tibet Airlines started the operation to Nepal. Tibet Airlines jointly with Himalaya Airlines of Nepal has started air operation to connect Kathmandu with Chengdu in Tibet. The airlines have started the flight operation to Chengdu with an Airbus A319 aircraft making its route over the Himalayas.
Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Sichuan Air’s passenger carriage dropped conspicuously by 55.80 percent in the first six months last year recovered strongly this year. These carriers flew 152,829 travellers, up 169.18 percent.
Mr. Birendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) stated that, despite of Traffic Congestion at the TIA, we are expecting a record number of tourists this year, which will increase travelers’ movements at the airport.
After the accomplishment of the TIA project, TIA will be able to handle more than 5.85 million passengers annually as well as accommodate bigger aircraft.
“Obviously, we are facing traffic congestion at the airport and have restricted new international airlines from launching their Nepal connectivity. But things will improve soon,” he said.
According to CAAN, construction of new terminal building is expected to be completed within one and a half years. CAAN has also planned to expand its parking bays by constructing 16 new parking bays. 4 parking bays of total 16 is schedule to complete within this year. Currently, TIA is featured with only 9 international parking bay and 17 domestic parking bays.