KATHMANDU – The national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines, has launched commercial flight targeting Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA), Bhairahawa after 13 months of the operation of airport.
Nepal Airlines’ 158-seater landed at airport at 9:45 am today carrying 90 passengers from Malaysia. Joint-Spokesperson of the Nepal Airlines Corporation, Ganesh Kumar Ghimire, said the aircraft took off for Kathmandu after dropping off 31 passengers at airport.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, and Minister of State for Tourism, Sushila Sirpali, were there to welcome passengers in Bhairahawa as it was the first commercial flight of NAC at airport. Inaugurating the NAC commercial flight at airport, Minister Kirati said it was challenging to give continuity of commercial flight for Bhairahawa.
He said efforts from the both government and private sector were necessary for the continuation of the service as it was possible due to special initiations of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.
Minister Kirati asked authorities concerned to lay an emphasis on publicity for stability, effective operation and market of Nepal Airlines in coming days. He mentioned that efforts were underway to operate flight at other destinations including New Delhi from GBIA.
The Tourism Minister further said it was necessary to buy new aircrafts to operate the NAC in a fully commercial manner and to provide air service to people of remote areas, stating that the government was in the process to purchase aircrafts in a transparent manner.
Similarly, Minister of State Sirpali said the government attached top priority to the need of regular commercial operation of airport as it was constructed with the aim of promoting identity and heritages of Lumbini Province globally. Stating that questions were raised from many quarters for irregular operation of flight, she mentioned that political instability was the main reason behind it.
Likewise, former Minister and federal lawmaker from Rupandehi-3, Deepak Bohora, said the operation of NAC commercial flight at airport raised hopes for the effective presence of the airport. He also advised the government to make a policy that every companies operating international flights from Tribhuvan International Airport has to operate one flight each at Bhairahawa.
Secretary at the Ministry, Suresh Adhikari, shared that launching the commercial flight at Gautam Buddha International Airport from Malaysia was the significant achievement. He further said a branch office of Tourism Board would be established at Bhairahawa next year as per the demand of tourism entrepreneurs of Bhairahawa.
Similarly, Executive Chairperson of NAC, Yubraj Adhikari, viewed that regular flights could be operated in a commercial manner after NAC gets additional aircrafts, pointing out the need of making the flights at Bhairahawa regular in order to connect Buddhist countries. The then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had inaugurated the airport on May 16, 2022.