Demand for more seats drives decision to expand services to Nepal, says airline.

Demand for more seats drives decision to expand services to Nepal, says airline.
By Andy Sambidge

Etihad Airways will increase its flights to Kathmandu, Nepal from four per week to a daily service from January 2010.

Etihad’s flights to Kathmandu, which were launched in December 2008, have proved extremely popular with travellers, providing high volumes of traffic into Abu Dhabi and the Middle East, as well as transit traffic to destinations including London and Frankfurt in Western Europe, and New York and Chicago in North America, the airline said. 

Average load factors of between 80 and 90 percent on both in- and outbound flights have prompted the expansion plan, the carrier added in a statement.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has seen the growth in corporate travel and also a positive trend in inbound tourism to Nepal, and the additional flights are being introduced to satisfy these customers’ demands for daily frequencies, the statement added.

Joost den Hartog, Etihad Airways’ regional general manager for North Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, said: “In addition to the strong demand for flights from Nepalese nationals who work in Abu Dhabi and further afield, we have seen a strengthening in corporate and leisure traffic, which is important to the economic development of Nepal. Etihad is pleased to support this growth with an increase in its services.”

Etihad has also announced the appointment of Ken Marshall as its country manager in Nepal. Based in Kathmandu, Marshall will take over from outgoing manager Kumar de Silva to oversee the airline's operations in Nepal. 

Last month, flydubai said it would launch flights to Nepal on December 15 - its eleventh route. 

Courtesy: Arabian Business Publishing