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Photo Credit: Yeti Airlines
A History of Domestic Airlines in Nepal
A dozen domestic airline companies in Nepal emerged after privatizing the airline industry in 1991. As a result, more than half a dozen domestic airlines operate their services in Nepal. They include Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air, Tara Air, and Nepal airlines. Shree airlines, Guna Air, Summit air and Sita air.
But unfortunately, some airline companies cannot exist in the market, meaning they have phased out, and they are Gorkha Airlines, Skyline, Cosmic Necon, Mountain Air, and Shangri-La air.
How many domestic airlines are there in Nepal?
More than a dozen airlines are there in Nepal and actively provide services in Nepal. And they are all based in Kathmandu. Here is a short profile of the airlines operating after 1991.
The airline was established in 1998, and since then, they have been operating a 19-seaters DHC-6-300 Twin Otter Aircraft, almost covering remote regions of Nepal. For example – they have been operating flights to Lukla Airport, one of the busiest domestic airports in Nepal, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Jomsom, Simikot, Lamidanda, Rumjatar, Pokhara, Bharatpur and many more.
It was established in 1997 and quickly grew popular. Buddha Air operates with the most modern fleet – four Raytheon Beech 1900D 19-seater aircraft. It emphasizes the safety factor. Destinations include Pokhara, Biratnagar, Nepalganj, Bhairawa, and Bhadrapur.
The airline was established in 2009 and is a Yeti Airlines subsidiary. It operates scheduled flights and air charter services to remote and mountainous airports, including Lukla, Jomsom, Simikot and Phaplu.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) was incorporated on 1 July 1958. It’s Nepal’s flag carrier is yet to gain popularity despite having been established over 6 decades ago. The government-owned airline, however, has the most extensive network of domestic routes, serving virtually every remote district in the country. It operates its domestic network with 19-seat Twin Otters and 44-seat Avro (HS-748) aircraft.
The airline was incorporated in 1999 and is one of the first private airlines to operate helicopter services in Nepal. It’s the largest operator of MI-17 helicopters in Southeast Asia, with a fleet that includes AS 350 B3e helicopters. The airlines have been providing domestic flights to five major cities of Nepal: Bhadrapur, Dhangadi, Nepalgunj, Bhairawaha and Biratnagar.
The airline was initially formed in 2009 by the Guna Group, but unfortunately, they halted the operation in 2013 by transferring its operation to Simirk Airlines. However, with some ups and downs, the airline restarted its operation in 2021 as the initial air company of Guna Airlines. On 16 September 2021, operations began again with regular flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Bharatpur.
Since 2011, the Air company came in operation. It offers flight operation to STOL (Short Take Off Landing) airfields all over Nepal. It offers flights based on three hub airports: Kathmandu ‚, Pokhara and Nepalgunj. They also operate flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Taplejung, Rumjatar and Ramechhap. Similarly, they also operate a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and from Nepalgunj to Simikot, Dolpo, Jumla, Rara and Bajura.
It’s a new airline company, which was established in 2000. And the airlines started their first commercial flights on February 2003 with a single German-made Dornier D-228 aircraft. The company now has four Dornier DO-228 aircraft. They are well-known for regularly scheduled STOL flights to remote mountain regions, such as Lukla, Phaplu, Ramechap, Tumlingtar, Pokhara, Surkhet, Rara, Jumla, Simikot, Bajura and Dolpa.
The following airlines are no more (phased out) in the market.
Some private airline companies, such as Gorkha Airlines, Skyline, Cosmic Necon, Mountain Air, and Shangri-La air, came into operation after the privatization of the airline industry in 1991. But, unfortunately, these airlines could not exit longer in the market.
How many airports are there in Nepal?
Altogether there are 43 airports in Nepal. Some famous airports are Tribhuvan International Airport, Gautam Buddha Airport (newly built), Pokhara Airport, Nepalgunj Airport, Bharatpur Airport, Simara Airport, Lukla Airport, Jomsom airport and many more.
NepalHiking.com arranges domestic air tickets to remote trekking destinations and other prominent cities of Nepal. For a long time- nearly more than 20 years, we have been working with different domestic airline companies in Kathmandu, including Buddha Air, Nepal Airlines, Gorkha Airlines, Yeti Airlines, Tara Airway and Sita Air.