Nepal Airlines resumes flights to Dubai

The state-owned carrier of Nepal is resuming flights to Dubai next month, four years after it cancelled services due to fleet reliability issues.

Nepal Airlines has acquired a 158-seat A320 to operate three weekly services between Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and Dubai from 18 August.

The airline stopped flying to Dubai in 2012 due to persistent reliability issues with its Boeing 757, a narrow body aircraft that ceased production in 2004.

Nepal Airlines will compete with carriers such as Etihad Airways, flydubai and Air Arabia, which all operate daily services to Kathmandu from the UAE.

However, it will be the only full-service carrier flying between Dubai and Kathmandu, with budget airline flydubai the only other airline operating the route.

Local sales agent, Anta, expects the bulk of passengers will be Nepalese living in the UAE, mostly working as labourers.

Anta general manager Kumar Jagadeesan told the UAE press that the Nepalese will prefer to fly with their national airline and said fares would be priced competitively against budget airlines flydubai and Air Arabia.

Jagadeesan said Nepal Airlines plans to increase services to daily flights from April next year depending on demand.

The resumption of services comes a little more than a year since the April 25 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed around 8,000 people in Nepal. The country’s tourism industry has struggled to rebound with visitor numbers falling 32% in 2015, according to Nepal’s Tourism Department.

Nepal is targeting for its visitor numbers to rebound by 50% this year, according to media reports.

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