KATHMANDU: BB Airways — promoted by treasurer of Non-Resident Nepalis Association Bhawan Bhatta — will start direct flights to Japan from October 13, shortening the distance between the two friendly nations to seven hours.
“The airlines will fly twice a week — on Wednesdays and Saturdays — to Narita airport from Kathmandu,” said chairman of the airlines Bhatta, adding that a two-way ticket will cost around Rs 120,000.
Addressing tour operators in Japan yesterday, he also urged friends of Nepal to promote the airlines as it will not only promote tourism but also open many avenues for development in Nepal.
Nepal Airlines, then Royal Nepal Airlines, used to fly directly to Japan almost a decade back, but after the ailing national flag carrier stopped its direct flights to Tokyo, Japanese tourists have to travel to Nepal through a longer route that is expensive and time consuming too.
Lately, the country has seen an increased flow of Japanese tourists to Nepal as Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha and Japanese people want to visit Nepal once in their lifetime, also due to Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world.
From January to June this year, some 11,265 Japanese — which was an increment of 18.3 per cent as compared to the same period of 2011 — visited Nepal by air. Japanese tourists shared 3.6 per cent of the total tourist arrivals to Nepal in the last six months by air.
“The 202-seater 757-200 ER Boeing — that has ICAO code ‘BBW’ and IATA code ‘BO’ — with eight business class seats will start its first flight on September 13 to Kuala Lumpur from Kathmandu,” said Bhatta, adding that the airlines will also start Hong Kong and Taiwan flights in September.
BB Airways has received permission to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Doha, Singapore and Japan.