Global aviation industry has plummeted to depths rarely seen in the last couple of years with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. However, few airlines are still making the headlines for good, rather optimistic news! Nepalese carrier ‘Himalaya Airlines’ has recently taken delivery of its very first Airbus A319. The aircraft, registered as 9N-AJK, was officially delivered to Tibet Airlines in June of 2019 but never entered service. The plane was built in Tianjin Airbus facility and was delivered directly from the Airbus to Himalaya Airlines’ base at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu, Nepal on March 2, 2020.
In a press release, Himalaya Airlines said:
“The just-arrived aircraft will not only be able to fly to high altitude destinations like Lhasa and Ali in Tibet but will also allow Himalaya Airlines to increase its flight frequencies and serve more passengers efficiently.”
Himalaya Airlines now has an all Airbus fleet of 4 aircraft – 3 A320s and the newly acquired A319. The airline is expected to take delivery of a further two A319s by the end of the year. Three more A319s are expected in a deal done with the Tibet Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co. The airline has made quite some leaps in recent times. In October 2019, Himalaya Airlines launched direct service to Beijing’s newly constructed Daxing International Airport making it the only airline in Nepal to connect the capitals of Nepal and China.
As of date, the airline operates flight to China, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, quite fascinating for an airline with just four aircraft! It must be understood that the A319 opted by the airline the is A319-100ceo, and not the sophisticated new A319neo. With a range of 6950km with 140 passengers on-board, this aircraft now opens a vast niche market for the airline – including the tier-2 destinations in China and the Indian subcontinent.
Expansion for any airline, whether it be a couple of tens of aircraft or a small addition is a great news for the carrier and the local aviation industry. While Nepal is a growing market for tourism and leisure, Himalaya Airlines indeed has set its sight for the heights!
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