The number of tourists traveling to Pokhara by air has increased by 32 percent this year, according to Bhola Prasad Guragain, the chief of Civil Aviation Office in Pokhara.He informs that compared to last year, this year the tourist number has increased by 141,671. “The numbers of both domestic and foreign tourists have increased,” he says. “In 2016-17, there were 139,477 foreign tourists. In the next fiscal, there were 175,024 foreign tourists who flew to Pokhara.”
While last year 411,536 domestic and foreign tourists traveled by air to and fro from Pokhara, the number increased to 553,207 this year. There are direct flights from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Bhairahawa, Chitwan and Jomsom. Right now Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Simrik Air, Nepal Airlines and Tara Airlines collectively undertake 20 flights a day.
With the start of the tourist season, airlines are preparing to increase flights. Gautam Baral, station manager of Buddha Air at Pokhara, says they are planning for up to 14 flights a day on Pokhara-Kathmandu route from the end of August.
“Right now, there are eight flights a day,” he says. “Advance flight bookings during the tourist season has increased by 50 percent, which is why we are planning for 12-14 flights every day.”
He further informs that starting August 26, the airplane would be kept in Pokhara at night so that 7 am flights can be arranged for travelers. Yeti Airlines is also preparing for 12-13 flights every day, according to Guragain of the Civil Aviation Office.
Bikash Baral, station manager of Simrik Airlines in Pokhara, informs that they are adding five flights for the tourist season. “Right now, there are only two flights,” he says. Guragain also informs that Makalu Air is planning for charter flights from Pokhara. Additionally, Shree Airlines is also thinking of new flights to Pokhara.