POKHARA, Jan 30: Pokhara is set to have easy connectivity with eastern part of the country with the beginning of direct flight service to Biratnagar.
Buddha Air, a private carrier, is starting Pokhara-Biratnagar-Pokhara flights from February 3. Tourism entrepreneurs of the lake city are elated with the decision as the flight service will make it easier for Indians that enter Nepal through eastern border point and domestic tourists to visit Pokhara.
To begin with, Buddha Air is operating three flights a week in the sector. Gautam Baral, station manager of Buddha Air at Pokhara, said the flights will be operated on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The airline is using 18-seater Beechcraft 1900D aircraft for the flights.
“The service will make traveling easier for Indians, who enter Nepal from eastern border, and also third country visitors,” Baral said.
Baral said the airline would increase flight frequency and use bigger aircraft as demand for air seats grow in the sector. He added that the tourism entrepreneurs of both Pokhara and Biratnagar had been demanding for direct air service between the two cities since long.
The airline has fixed one-way fare at Rs 6,200 for Nepali and Indian passengers, and US$ 130 for third country visitors.
According to the airline, the flight to Biratnagar will leave at 11:45 am and return to Pokhara at 1:10 pm on the same day. The flight will be about 65 minutes long.
Passengers from Biratnagar, Dharan, Itahari, Jhapa, Ilam and other parts of eastern Nepal will benefit from the direct service. “Indian tourists entering Nepal from Kakarbhitta border will benefit the most as they will now have easier mode of travel to Pokhara,” Baral said.
Yogendra KC, chairman of Prithvi Highway Bus Operators Company Pvt Ltd, there is good flow of passengers between Pokhara and Biratnagar. “At present, passenger buses ply Pokhara-Biratnagar route. Beginning of direct air service is certain to increase the flow of visitors,” he added.
Similarly, Chiranjivi Pokharel, president of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC), said he was hopeful that the direct service will bring sustainable benefits to both the cities. “We were apprehensive about Pokhara-Bhairahawa flights initially. But there is good traffic now,” he said. “As Biratnagar is an industrial town and major commercial hub of eastern Nepal, the airline will not face shortage of passengers.”