POKHARA, Oct 3: Leading airlines, including Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines, have added more flights on Kathmandu-Pokhara route as flow of tourists rose with the onset of peak tourist season.
Buddha Air added three more flights a day on the route effective from Tuesday. With the addition, the number of flights of Buddha on the route has jumped to eight per day, said Gautam Baral, station manager of Buddha Air in Pokhara.
Buddha Air has been operating flights with 47-seater ATR-42 on the route.
“We added more flights as pressure for more seats rose with the onset of the tourist season and rise in volume of arrivals,” said Baral. According to him, the flights of Buddha were presently enjoying 95 percent occupancy. Of them, 80 percent passengers are foreign tourists. “The pressure is equally high on both Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Kathmandu flights,” Baral added.
Last year, Buddha Air had operated 6 flights on the route during the same season. “This is the first time we are operating so many flights to Pokhara,” said Baral. Given the demand for tickets, he even said that Pokhara was bracing to witness sharp rise in tourist arrival this year.
The company has announced it will be operating 8 flights to the Lake City till the end of November.
Likewise, Yeti Airlines too added three more flights a day on Kathmandu-Pokhara route. The company was operating five flights a day till August. It added flights in September, and is now operating 8 flights a day to the Lake City.
“The volume of tourists has risen with the start of the main tourist season. We are preparing to add further two more flights, operating a total of 10 flights a day from the next few days,” said Ram Lamichhane, station manager of Yeti Airlines in Pokhara.
Lamichhane further told Republica, the company would be operating 12 flights a day on Kathmandu-Pokhara route by the middle of the tourist season.
Last year, the company had operated 12 flights a day during this season. Given the present demand, he said the company will stick to similar flight plan this year as well. Yeti Airlines is operating flights to Pokhara was 30-seater Jetstream aircraft.
According to Yeti Airlines, its flights are enjoying 95 percent occupancy on both Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Kathmandu routes. And tourists make the biggest chunk of its passengers.
“Those who did not book their flights in advance will face difficulty in getting hold of the tickets,” said Lamichhane.
Foreign tourists regard September to November as the main season to visit Pokhara. “And the present rise in arrivals indicate the tourism industry will have a nice business this season,” said Tika Ram Sapkota, chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council and member of Tourism Board.
Chief of Pokhara Airport Pratap Babu Tiwari said that the number of flights handled by the airport has increased dramatically with the onset of the peak tourist season. As the number of arrivals is still growing, he said the number of flights could go further up in days to come. Apart from Buddh and Yeti, Guna Airlines also operates its flights to Pokhara.