RAK Airways begin flights to Nepal in Feb

RAK Airways – the national carrier of United Arab Emirates is beginning scheduled flights to Kathmandu starting mid-Feb.According to information posted on RAK Airways´ website, the airline will fly to Kathmandu three times a week.Officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal the aviation sector regulator – Wednesday confirmed that the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation  has permitted the carrier to operate scheduled flights between Ras Al Khaimah – one of the seven Emirates of UAE – and Kathmandu.

All the necessary formalities have been completed. We will approve flight schedule within two days, a CAAN official told Republica, adding that the airline can fix the date of operation as per its convenience once the schedule is approved.With this, the number of UAE-based airlines flying to Kathmandu has reached four. Air Arabia, Fly Dubai and Etihad Airways are already operating 35 flights a week between Kathmandu and other destinations in the UAE.The Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Nepal and UAE allows UAE-based carriers to operate a maximum of 28 flights a week to Kathmandu. But Temporary Operating Permission (TOP) allows UAE carriers to operate 10 additional flights a week.

During Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011, the MoTCA had granted TOP to operate seven additional flights a week to all countries that have signed ASA with Nepal. The number of flights under TOP has now been increased to 10 flights a week to promote Visit Lumbini Year 2012.RAK Airways, which was showing interest to operate flights to Nepal since some months ago, got the opportunity to start operation after MoTCA extended TOP by a year.Kathmandu is a destination that appeals to both leisure and business travelers. Last year´s dedicated tourism campaign increased visitor numbers to the country by 20 percent,Omar Jahameh, CEO of RAK Airways, said in a press statement issued on Tuesday.

The airline presently flies to 10 international destinations, including Khartoum of Sudan, Jeddah of Saudi Arabia and Calicut of India. It has already unveiled introductory fare on the route staring at Rs 10,900 (Dh 499) for one-way route and Rs 19,670 (Dh 899) for round trip.The fare is inclusive of all taxes. The cheaper fare is likely to attract thousands of Nepali migrant workers who flights between UAE and Kathmandu.According to CAAN, international flight frequency increased by 17.80 percent in the first nine months of 2011 as compared to figures of the same period of 2010.Currently, 29 international airlines, including national flag carrier Nepal Airlines and Buddha Air, operate flights from Kathmandu.

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