Nepal’s largest domestic carrier Buddha Air is adding another ATR 72-500 to its fleet in November, seeing an increase in demand for local air travel.

Buddha Air’s sales, marketing and ground handling director Rupesh Joshi tells Smart Aviation Asia Pacific that the expansion plans have been in the works since last year.

“Since January 2021, we have added two ATR 72-500 and we are looking to add one more of the same model towards the end of the year. The aircraft’s expected delivery date is November,” he adds.

Joshi elaborates that Nepal’s roads are undergoing major renovation, and with the market growing, the expansion will help with the increasing demand.

The airline currently operates three ATR 42-300s, two Beechcraft 1900Ds and 10 ATR 72-500s to domestic destinations such as Bhadrapur, Janakpur and Pokhara. With the new purchase from ATR, this will bring the total fleet size to 16, he says.

“We are not using the additional aircraft for new routes, but rather to increase the frequency of our domestic flights,” he highlights.

Speaking on the nation’s current situation, Joshi says that while the economy is recovering, tourism remains stagnant.

“We do have international flights to India, but that has been affected due to the pandemic. We hope that in 2022, the situation can improve,” he adds.

Joshi says the airline has future plans next year to add two to three more ATR 72-500s and will be in discussions to realize this goal.

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