Malaysia Airlines to begin flights to Kathmandu

Malaysia Airlines is on its way to start its operation from Kathmandu. Secretary at Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) Nagendra Prasad Ghimire during a press meet informed that the Malaysian Airlines has applied for the Operating Authority from Nepal. According to him, by 2011 there will be around 32 different international airlines operating to Nepal, “hence by 2011 there will be no air accessibility problem.”

Ghimire said that the increase of both national and international Airlines will help make the by NTY 2011 more successful. “There will be a total of 32 different airlines with international flights by then,” he added.

Currently, there are 25 international airlines operating, while Spirit of Manila, and Oman Air have also applied to operate in Nepal. But Malaysian airlines Air Asia is undergoing feasibility study,” informed Ghimire. There is a surge of tourists arrivals to Nepal as tourists arrivals by air increased to 19 per cent during the month of January,” he said adding that by 2010 there will be recovery in the global economic recession which will definately boost low-cost airlines.

MoTCA ha also issued a 45-day notice for the domestic operators to apply for international operation. Those airlines that have provided service for five years and with minimum five aircrafts can apply for the international operations.

In the yesr 2010, corporate travel is likely to grow by 10-15 per cent in Asia this year as business activities improve from last year’s sharp falls, a major air ticketing and reservations firm said. Singapore-based Abacus International said the recovery will be gradual because most the austerity measures and travel policies implemented during the global economic downturn are likely to remain.

“As businesses resume to the ‘new normal’, we should also see an upward adjustment in travel budgets as business activities improve in a more thriving economic climate,” said Abacus vice-president for marketing Brett Henry. “We are expecting to see a gradual 10-15 per cent growth in corporate travel in 2010, especially in traditional corporate travel markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong,” he said in a statement.

Business travel declined by 15-20 per cent last year and the amount spent during these trips dropped between 25 and 40 percent, Henry said.

Despite the downturn, overall bookings for Abacus shrank a narrower-than-expected one per cent in 2009 from the year before, thanks to a pickup starting from the second half. Emerging markets in Central Asia as well as Nepal, Bangladesh and South Korea are seen as key growth areas. “There is certainly a strong sense of renewed energy and vibrancy in the market as the new year starts,” Abacus president and chief executive Robert Bailey told reporters.

Abacus meanwhile said that the majority of Asian travel companies have yet to catch up with the use of Facebook and other online social media tools in their marketing strategies.

Asian travel agents should also make full use of mobile technology applications to reach customers, Abacus said.

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