International Finance Corporation (IFC) — a member of the World Bank Group — is providing a loan of $6.9 million to Buddha Air to help the airline offer improved air travel connectivity in Nepal.
IFC’s loan will enable Buddha Air to purchase a second ATR 72 aircraft, strengthening the company’s operations in the country, according to IFC, the lending arm of the World Bank.
"Improved air services mean more options for tourists, and better connectivity for the population," it said, adding that the airline serves 10 domestic destinations.
"IFC’s second investment in Buddha Air will help us consolidate our services in the region,” said managing director of Buddha Air Birendra Basnet.
Improving air travel is essential for better domestic and international connectivity in Nepal because of the country’s mountainous terrain.
IFC provided a loan of $10 million in 2008 to Buddha Air to purchase two ATR-42 aircraft and to construct a closed-door hangar at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu.
"Addressing the huge demand for infrastructure in Nepal is a strategic priority for IFC,” said IFC’s Asia Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources Anita George. "Our repeat investment in Buddha Air will help the company offer more travel options and reduce travel time for the citizens of Nepal."
Incorporated in Nepal in 1996, Buddha Air operates domestic passenger flights between Kathmandu and the other regional airports. It also runs sightseeing flights to Mt Everest, offering an on board view of the world’s highest peak.
Similarly, the IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. It helps developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilising capital in the international financial markets.
In 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, IFC helped its clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities — all while driving the investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.