KATHMANDU, Nepal - Nepal Airlines, the country's state-owned carrier, is one step closer to starting flights to Australia.
Nepal Airlines' deputy spokesperson Ganesh Kumar Ghimire told the Post that the airline has officially secured a slot at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.
The inaugural flight from Kathmandu to Sydney is scheduled for June 21.
"We are making the necessary preparations." "We're applying for landing permits and making other preparations to meet the deadline," Ghimire said.
The national flag carrier has also requested bids for an Airbus A330 line maintenance agreement in Sydney and proposals for in-flight catering services in Sydney and Singapore.
"The proposed June 21 flight, however, will be contingent on the Australian government issuing the landing permits, even though we have secured the slots from the airport authority in Sydney," Ghimire said.
Nepal Airlines will fly to Sydney twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays, with an in-between stopover in Singapore.
Nepal Airlines would take 13 hours and 25 minutes to reach Sydney via Singapore.
"In the first phase, we've decided to do a technical landing in Singapore-just for refueling," Ghimire explained.
"We intend to use the fifth freedom right in the second phase."
The airline's fifth freedom right allows it to pick up or drop off passengers in Singapore when flying in either direction.
Sydney is Australia's largest city and has a sizable Nepali population.
The distance between Kathmandu and Sydney is 9,816 kilometers one way.
In 2019, approximately 119,000 roundtrip passengers flew between Kathmandu and Sydney, according to a report. Due to Covid-related restrictions, the number fell in 2022.
According to the report, demand is mainly driven by Nepalis visiting friends and relatives and Australians visiting Nepal for tourism.