Kathmandu has been directly connected with the Europe – after some 16 years – thanks to Turkish Air that has started its direct Kathmandu-Istanbul flight from today.
Ranked the ‘Best Airline in Europe’ for the third consecutive year, Turkish Airlines, was though planning to start Kathmandu flight linking Nepal directly with Europe since last two year, it has been successful in adding Kathmandu as its 238th destination from today.
Turkish Airlines will fly to Kathmandu four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from Instanbul and return on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Kathmandu, senior vice president, marketing and sales of Turkish Airlines Sezgin Saglam told the media here today.
“Though we are currently operating four flights a week, we are working on to operate daily flights form next month,” he said, adding that the airlines is proud to add Kathmandu – that has a long history dating to 100 BC and is home to many unique cultural and historical sites, including a large number of Buddhist and Hindu temples which are protected by UNESCO designations – in its network.
The Airbus A330 aircraft of the Istanbul-based carrier landed at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) at 7:15 am with 280 passengers on board.
The airlines with the largest network has also introduced an introductory round trip fares starting at 406 Euros –including taxes and fees – appoximately Rs 58,800.
Zenith Travels is the general sales agents (GSA) of Turkish Airline in Nepal.
The Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Nepal and Turkey, which was signed in September 2010, allows the two countries to operate 14 flights per week each on Kathmandu-Istanbul route.
The 27th international airlines to fly to Kathmandu has also offered special scheme for its ‘Miles&Smiles members’, with a 25 per cent reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades, said the airliner that was established in 1933 with a fleet of only five airplanes. But today, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is a four star airline with a fleet of 232 aircraft –passenger and cargo –flying to 238 cities around the world with a fleet of 232 aircraft.
Welcoming the 27th international airlines, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Ratish Chandra Lal Suman said that the regular flight service between Nepal and Turkey will not only encourage business but also help extend bilateral trade relations and exchange culture and friendship between two countries. “At a time when Nepal Airlines has not even been able to connect Middle East and Europe with Nepal, Turkish Airlines has helped us remained connected with the third world.”Earlier, the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) used to fly to London, Paris and Frankfurt from Kathmandu, whereas Lufthansa of Germany, Transavia Airlines of the Netherlands, Austrian Airlines of Austria and Martin Air of the Netherlands also used to fly to Kathmandu. However, these airlines stopped their flights to Kathmandu due to low passenger and rising cost of operation. But Turkish Airlines direct flight might help boost the number of visitors to Nepal as in recent months number of tourist arrivals via air has also witnessed a decline.