After a decade long break, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is finally preparing to resume its service to Japan from September. The corporation is set for 3 weekly flights to Tokyo after Tourism Ministry (MoCTCA) designated 7 weekly flights for NAC to Narita International Airport, also known as Tokyo Narita Airport.
Rabindra Shrestha, airlines spokesperson stated that the corporation is making necessary arrangement like appointing General sales agent (GSA) to commence flight from September and said they would be operating 3 flights per week. Pramod Nepal, undersecretary of the ministry said that the national flag carrier will formally apply for authorization at Narita Airport with Japanese government after the Nepali government gives go-ahead.
Nepal and Japan signed revised ASA to increase flights number from twice weekly to 14 weekly flights with any type of aircraft from airlines of both country on June 18. This revised ASA will also allow NAC to operate to Narita International Airport and other airports in Japan except Haneda Airport.
NAC had previously begun preparation to operate flights to Kansai International Airport in Osaka as it was not allowed to serve other airports in Japan under the old air service agreement (ASA).
Nepal and Japan signed the ASA in 1993 and the national flag carrier had commenced its Japan service in 1994, flying to Osaka via Shanghai, China. In 2007, it was forced to suspend the route due to lack of aircraft.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of Nepalese living in Japan has increased to more than 60,000 compared to only 31,531 at the end of 2013 and Nepali community is the fifth largest foreign community in Japan.
Nepal air traffic analysis done by Airbus in 2015 forecasted traffic growth of 77 percent in five years from nearly 48,000 one-way travelers from Japan to Nepal and Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport account for 68 percent of the traffic from Japan to Nepal.