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Nepal’s commercial aviation set to grow

Nepal’s commercial aviation sector is set to expand now that the country’s new international carrier Air Nepal International has launched and the Nepal civil aviation authority has granted air operator’s certificates (AOC) to another four domestic start-ups.

Deputy director general of the Nepal civil aviation authority, Keshab Raj Khanal, says the organisation recently granted domestic AOCs to Agni Air, Base Air, Flying Dragon and Nepal Airlines and these carriers are required to launch operations within six months or else forfeit the AOC.

Keshab says Base Air plans to operate BAe ATPs, Nepal Airlines ATR 42s and Dornier 228s and Flying Dragon Harbin Y-12s.

Agni Air, meanwhile, plans to launch services late next month with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias, according to a source at the airline.

Flying Dragon (Nepal) is significant because it is part owned and derives its name from Harbin Aircraft’s general aviation airline in Harbin city, Flying Dragon.

A source at Flying Dragon in Nepal confirms that Harbin Aircraft’s Flying Dragon is one of the owners and it plans to launch operations in September with three Y-12 passenger aircraft.

While Nepal is set to have another four domestic operators later this year, Air Nepal International launched operations late last month using a Boeing 767-300ER wet-leased from Thai carrier PB Air.

Kathmandu-based Air Nepal International has scheduled services to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and plans to launch services to Doha and Dubai.

It also aims to get a second aircraft, either a 767-300ER or 757, in October either on wet or dry lease.

LEITHEN FRANCIS / SINGAPORE

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