Domestic airlines announce ticket booking for Dashain
KATHMANDU, Sept 7: Domestic airlines operators have opened booking for Dashain, more than a month ahead of the start of the biggest festival. Increasing competition amongst operators and computerized booking system has encouraged operators for advance sales.
Despite the recent hike in the fuel surcharge and more than a month remaining in the calendar for the biggest festival, passengers have already confirmed their seats to avoid disappointment.
The fuel surcharge during one year of time has increased by up to Rs 615.
According to airlines officials they were hopeful of good sales compared to other periods of the year even though the smooth operation of surface transport could cut into potential air passengers. The officials suggested that the last moment booking might not be a good idea for those passengers flying on major route from the capital.
Rupesh Joshi, executive manager of Buddha Air said that the booking for Dashain, particularly on Biratnagar and Bhadrapur sectors, has already received around 70-80 percent booking. “The overall enquiries and bookings are encouraging,” he said.
Vinaya Shakya said the overall booking for Dashain has already crossed 20 percent. “The pressure was already on for Biratnagar and booking on other trunk routes is also on rise,” said Shakya. He further said although the booking for the flights from Kathmandu was high, the booking for returning flights was negligible except for Pokhara-Kathmandu sector.
It´s natural for the airlines to receive advance booking as the festive season coincides with peak tourist season. The popular destinations for tourists during this time includes Pokhara, Lukla, Jomson and Thaplu.
The traditional route for tourists includes Kathmandu- Chitwan-Pokhara- Kathmandu creating more pressure on Kathmandu-Chitwan and Pokhara-Kathmandu route. In order to get better rates, traveling to Pokhara first and than coming back from Chitwan could be cost effecitive, according to the airlines companies.
The airlines at present have opened booking for normal fares only. Joshi said, “Depending upon the pressure, we will introduce the other fares.”
Shakya said that there was slim chance to get promotional fares while flying from Kathmandu but the return tickets could be available in cheaper rates because of low pressure.
The operators however have not decided about additional number of flights. Joshi said that they will have clear idea regarding additional flights after two weeks only. Although the airlines charge normal fare for the additional scheduled flights, passengers need to pay up to 50 percent additional if the flight is chartered. Shakya said. “Since the aircraft might have to return empty, its natural to charge more in case of chartered flights.”