Four airlines poised to launch Kathmandu-Delhi flights, fares likely to drop

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) – Competition for passengers on the Kathmandu-Delhi flight is likely to intensify as several airlines are getting ready to launch services between the two South Asian capitals this year.

Indian carriers Vistara, GoAir and Spice Jet, and Nepali carrier Shree Airlines are poised to operate flights between Kathmandu and Delhi.

Currently, Nepal Airlines flies thrice daily and Air India flies twice daily on the sector. Indigo operates a daily flight while Bhutan Airlines conducts two weekly flights.

If the proposals of these airlines are approved, the Kathmandu-Delhi route will see at least 10 flights daily, producing more than 1,500 seats one-way.

The additional flights may ignite fierce competition and benefit consumers, according to travel trade entrepreneurs. While India’s full-service airline Vistara and low-cost airline GoAir are preparing to fly to Kathmandu for the first time, budget carrier Spice Jet will be resuming its service which was suspended in 2014, said Tourism Under-Secretary Pramod Nepal.

The Kathmandu-Delhi route will see at least 10 flights daily, producing more than 1,500 seats one way. PHOTO:THE KATHMANDU POST/ANN

Nepali private carrier Shree Airlines has been cleared by the Tourism Ministry to fly on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector and is awaiting clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

“We have received applications from Vistara and Spice Jet,” said Nepal.

“These two airlines have applied for daily flights, and we are currently processing their applications.” He said that Indian budget carrier GoAir reportedly plans to connect Kathmandu too.

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, commenced operations in January 2015 making its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai. Spice Jet started scheduled flights to Kathmandu as its first international destination in 2010.

Corporate Manager of Shree Airlines Anil Manandhar said they planned to launch Kathmandu-Delhi flights this year. “The traffic on the sector is good,” he said, adding that competition would obviously become intense.

New Delhi is the major gateway for flights to Nepal, accounting for nearly 25 per cent of the 4.34 million annual air passenger movements to and from Nepal.

The route is considered a lucrative sector as flight occupancy reaches more than 95 per cent during the peak season, said Managing Director of Osho World Travel Nepal Shyam Raj Thapaliya.