Three new carriers set to launch Ktm-Kuala Lumpur flights
KATHMANDU, June 5: Competition among airlines on Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route is all set to heat up, as three new carriers have unveiled plans to operate on the sector by September.
Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia is starting scheduled flights on the route by the end of this month, while Malaysian national carrier Malaysia Airlines plans to launch flights on the route from September 1.
Upcoming local carrier BB Airways has already unveiled plans to operate scheduled flights on seven routes, including Kuala Lumpur, from September 13.
So far, national carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is enjoying monopoly on the route.
Tri Ratna Manandhar, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said Malaysia Airlines has already received permission to fly on the sector.
AirAsia, however, applied for the approval of flights a few days ago only. It had applied for the permission last year but failed to get the permit due to some technical reasons.
“All the necessary procedures have been completed. AirAsia will receive permission to fly on the route within this week,” an official of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), said.
AirAsia will initially fly four times on the route. A MoCTCA official said the airline will start flights on the route from June 21. “But it may change, depending on other administrative formalities,” the official said.
Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Nepal and Malaysia allows Malaysian carriers to operate up to 21 flights a week.
The growing movement of Nepali migrant workers to and from Malaysia is one of the reasons luring airlines to fly on the sector. Statistics of the Department of Foreign Employment shows an average of 350 Nepali workers left for the Malaysian capital on daily basis in the last fiscal year. Around 500,000 Nepalis are currently working in Malaysia.
Around 7,000 Malaysians visited Nepal during Nepal Tourism Year 2011 and tourism entrepreneurs expect the number to double once the new airlines start operation.
Though the new carriers have yet to unveil their fares, CAAN sources say AirAsia, being the budget carrier, is likely to offer the cheapest airfare.