Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dashain, tourist season boost airlines business

 KATHMANDU, Oct 28: Domestic airlines have reported around 30 to35 percent more business during Dashain festival, which coincided with the onset of the main tourist season in the country, compared to normal times.

The operators, who were not so hopeful of good business because of smooth land transport and increased airfares, informed Republica that the overall sales volume also increased with the addition of flight targeting Dashain and tourist season.

Operators said domestic and foreign passengers account for around 75 percent and 25 percent of the total air passengers in domestic airlines. However, foreingers accounted for around 50 percent of the total passengers during this period, according to airlines officials.

Airlines stated that they increased the frequency of the flight from 30 percent to 100 percent targeting foreigners and domestic travelers.
According to them, movement of Chinese and Korean tourists was impressive during the 15-day Dashain festival, which is ending on Monday.

Parashar Jung Pandey, sales and marketing manager of Buddha Air said sales volume during the Dashain was better than last years although the exact rise in the revenue was still to be calculated.

“We have operated more flights than our expectation as the demands for seats increased on the last moment,” said Pandey.

The Budda Air, the largest carrier, operated 8 flights to Pokhara whereas it had operated only 5 flights last Dashain. Similarly, the movement in Kathmandu-Bharatpur-Kathmandu also saw almost full occupancy because of a rise in the movement of foreign tourists in addition to those traveling to celebrate the Dashain.

The private carriers of rural area with limited number of aircraft were also in the pressure because of overwhelming enquiries.

Another private operator Goma Air which operates flights to Bajura, Jumla, Humla and Dolpa added additional flights with majority of passengers traveling for Dashain in all the destinations. The airlines had added at least one flight on its operating routes. “To meet the demand we cut down our cargo flights during this period to carry more passengers,” Manoj Karki, Managing Director of the airlines said.

Likewise, Deependra Shahi, sales and marketing manager of Sita Air said the airlines had to increase the flight frequency throughout the week in Dashain. The airlines operates flights to Simikot, Lukla and Jumla with its two aircrafts. “We were able to sell the tickets at better rates with overwhelming enquiries from travelers,” Shahi added.

Yeti Airlines has also operated additional flights to Biratnagar, Tumlingtar and Bhadrapur.

According to the statistics of Tribhuvan International Airport, domestic airlines carried about 1.59 million passengers in 2011, a nominal 1.85 percent growth compared to 2010. Despite a set back in airlines business immediately after the rise in surcharge, the operators, however, are hopeful of satisfactory growth with the rise in the arrivals of foreigners. 


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