Shree to launch commercial flights today

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 11, 2017-Nepal’s largest helicopter operator, Shree Airlines, is scheduled to officially start fixed-wing services on Friday by launching flights to Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa.

The carrier received an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) on Thursday, 11 months after obtaining operating authorization from the Civil Aviation Ministry. 

Shree’s entry into fixed-wing services is likely to end the duopoly of Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines on trunk routes. 

“We received permission from the aviation regulator to operate commercial flights on Thursday after completing five tough procedures,” said Anil Manandhar, corporate manager of Shree Airlines. “We will gradually increase the flight frequency. We are currently offering normal airfares, and plan to unveil promotional airfares within a few days.” 

Shree has been allotted six sectors: Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and mountain flight. The airline’s fixed-wing fleet consists of two 50-seater Canadair Regional Jets CRJ-200s and one 74-seater CRJ-700 Bombardier. It has become the second Nepali carrier to fly Bombardier aircraft after Saurya Airlines. 

Shree officials said reduced travel time made possible by jet aircraft would help them to attract travellers and break the duopoly of Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines on trunk routes.

Currently, Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Simrik Airlines, Saurya Airlines and Nepal Airlines serve domestic trunk routes.

The airline has invested Rs2 billion in its expansion project, and will be hiring at least 200 more personnel.

Shree received a no objection certificate from Caan in March to buy or lease aircraft. Although Shree had planned to launch commercial operations by the end of 2016, stringent AOC requirements forced it to push back its launch date. 

The carrier has also set an ambitious plan to connect South Asian markets in the second phase. Currently, it has an international operation licence for its MI-17 helicopters only. Started in 1999, it currently has six MI-17 and four Eurocopter AS350 B3e helicopters. 

Published: 11-08-2017 08:48

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