The Nepali government has given permission to China Eastern Airlines (CEA) to start its air service to Nepal, local newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported on Wednesday.
It has been given the operating authorization by the Nepal government as per Article 4 (3) of the air service agreement (ASA)signed between Nepal and China in 2003.
China Eastern Airlines is the third Chinese airline allowed by the Chinese government to operate in Nepal.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the company has presented a plan to the ministry to start Kunming-Kathmandu service thrice a week from September. It will be using Boeing 737-700 aircraft on the route.
The ASA has a provision that airlines authorized by both countries can operate 14 flights per week between Nepal and China. As per that provision, Air China is operating seven weekly flights between Beijing-Kathmandu and China Southern Airlines is operating three weekly flights between Guangzhou-Kathmandu.
With CEA starting its operation from the first week of September, the number of international airlines providing air service in Nepal has reached 19.
Tourism entrepreneurs expect CEA’s Nepal operation to boost tourist arrivals from China.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), tourist arrivals from China declined by 2 percent in 2008. The NTB data showed that14,706 Chinese came to Nepal in 2008 against 14,426 of 2007. However, the number is encouraging this year with air arrivals up by 4 percent in the first seven months.