KTM2DAY.com
KATHMANDU TODAY

Wataniya Airways starts direct flights to KTM

Wataniya Airways of Kuwait has decided to operate direct flights to Nepal as it moves to cater to growing travel demand with Nepali migrant workers rushing to the oil-rich country in larger numbers.

The carrier will be operating a daily service starting November 29. It received operating authorisation from the Civil Aviation Ministry on October 30.

Subash Jha, deputy director of the Air Transport Division of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan), said that Caan approved the carrier’s airport slot, or landing rights, on Monday at the recommendation of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) slot management committee.

Wataniya flights will arrive at TIA at 11 pm and depart at 12 midnight. “The direct service is expected to benefit Nepali migrant workers in Kuwait,” he said.

Kuwait-bound Nepali travellers currently have to go via Saudi Arabia as there is no direct air connection. Ministry officials said that the direct flight is expected to make travelling cheaper. The service is likely to increase tourist movement from Kuwait to Nepal too.

Last Tuesday, Wataniya announced a $2.68 billion deal with Airbus to purchase 25 A320neo aircraft as the carrier plans to expand its network around the world, having restarted its operations in July 2017, according to media reports.

The airline, which currently has two narrow-body Airbus A320s, plans to have a total of 50-60 aircraft by 2025.

Wataniya resumed services in July after ceasing operations in 2011, according to Reuters. The carrier closed after three years in the business due to its financial situation and political instability in the Middle East.

Wataniya plans to launch services to 16 destinations in Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, India, Pakistan and Europe.

Kuwait is the fifth biggest employer of Nepali workers, according to the Department of Foreign Employment.

In the last fiscal year, 12,507 Nepalis received permits to work in Kuwait. In 2015-16, the number of job aspirants totalled 10,049 individuals.

Nepal and Kuwait signed an air service agreement (ASA) in January 2006. Since 1963, Nepal has signed bilateral ASAs with 38 countries, New Zealand and Vietnam being the latest countries. This provides 6 million seats per annum to and from Nepal. However, less than 40 percent of this capacity is being utilised.

Currently, 28 international airlines are operating flights from Kathmandu to 22 cities in Asia and Europe. International passenger traffic in Nepal swelled 9.12 percent to 3.51 million in 2016, according to TIA.

International air passenger traffic through TIA plunged 8.37 percent to a 13-year low of 3.21 million in 2015 after the April earthquake scared away tourists. Airport officials expect 2017 to be another big growth year as several airlines have increased their frequency and launched new services, signaling a dramatic growth in tourist arrivals.

Related Post

Malaysian no-frills carrier AirAsia X links Kathmandu AirAsia X conducted its maiden flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu with an Airbus A330-300 on Tuesday. The Malaysia-based long-haul, low-cost carr...
Air passengers decrease by 6% Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) handled 2.65 million passengers in the first 10 months of 2015. The figure is 5.99 percent lower compared to ar...
Himalaya Airlines starts flights to Chongqing China Himalaya Airlines, an international air carrier, entered into to the China market with the maiden flight to its latest destination, Chongqing, a m...
Thai Lion Air to start flights to Kathmandu Low-cost carriers (LCC) are increasing their strong foothold in Nepal’s market as demand for cheap air travel continues to grow. Two LCCs- Thai Li...
Buddha Air to fly to Varanasi from March Buddha Air has announced that it will be starting its Kathmandu-Varanasi service from March 1, 2012 as part of the drive to expand its international...
Nepal Airlines to fly Dubai from Aug 18 Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on Thursday announced that it would be resuming its Kathmandu-Dubai service on August 18, four years after it was s...
Thai Lion Air begins flights to KTM Low-cost carrier (LCC) Thai Lion Air made its maiden flight on Bangkok-Kathmandu sector on Wednesday, becoming the second carrier from the land of...
Gulf carriers jack up fares on higher travel demand Air travellers will have to open their wallets wider this season. Airlines from the Gulf serving Nepal have hiked airfares prompted by growing seaso...
Simrik and Sapphire to form a cargo airline company Simrik Airlines and US-based Sapphire Global Airways on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a dedicated international long-haul...
Buddha Air’s international unit to issue IPO Buddha Air has unveiled its plans to transform its international unit into a public company by 2021. “We plan to initiate our international ser...
US-Bangla applies for TIA slot for daily scheduled flights Bangladeshi carrier US-Bangla Airlines has applied for resumption of its Kathmandu operation, seven months after suspending operations following t...
Nepal Airlines in talks with Kansai Airport staffs to resume Japan flight A visiting delegation from Japan’s Kansai International Airport, Osaka, has welcomed the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC)’s plan to resume flights...
Himalayan Bank announces its E-Commerce Payment Gateway Himalayan Bank Limited has announced the release of its E-Commerce Payment Gateway. The bank said that businessmen and customers, both domestic and ...
Himalaya Airlines plans to fly Myanmar and Malaysia Himalaya Airlines plans to extend its wings to Myanmar and Malaysia by the second week of February after getting another brand new Airbus 320. The c...
Rise in travelling numbers prompts airlines to hike airfares Airfares have gone up as travel demand continues to grow despite the end of the festival season in Nepal. According to travel agencies, the large nu...
Tourist arrivals via air drop to 4.9% in December Tourist arrivals via air in the month of December dropped by 4.9 percent to 42,601 compared to the same period last year. According to Tribhuvan Int...
TIA handled a record 3.88 million passengers in 2017 Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) handled more than 10,000 travellers daily in 2017, making it the busiest year for the country’s sole interna...