Air Transport World

Room (for growth) at the top of the world. (Royal Nepal Airlines) (company profile)

Royal Nepal has received help from many quarters since its beginnings in 1958 but the airline of Everest is profitable and growing. By Anthony Vandyk.

Katmandu-Want to see 11 of the world's 20 highest mountains, including a close-up of Everest, the highest? Then take one of Royal Nepal Airlines' scheduled "mountain flights," which provide a far different panorama from the view of the peaks that is seen from ground level by the bulk of the more than 200,000 tourists-mostly mountain climbers and hikers-who come to Nepal each year.

Tourism has become the most important foreign-currency earner and economy bolsterer of what is one of the poorest countries in the world. And Royal Nepal Airlines can take the major part of the credit for the development of tourism to the landlocked country. Until the 1 950s, during which Sir Richard Hilary conquered Everest, Nepal saw few visitors, partly because the government wanted to keep the country in its centuries-old isolation and partly because surface access was extremely difficult.

Prior to the 1958 establishment of Royal Nepal Airlines, air links from India were performed by various Indian carriers. Indian capital was invested in Royal Nepal until the Nepalese government acquired all of its shares in 1 959. The act that established Royal Nepal Airlines specified the carrier's three basic objectives:

* Manage air-transport services within and outside the Kingdom of Nepal in a safe, efficient, economical and proper manner.

* Ensure maximum profitability as well as provide air services at economical fares as far as possible.

Diversify air services.

In 1958, Royal Nepal Airlines began operations with a single Douglas DC-3 and 97 employees and linked the capital, Katmandu, with four domestic points. Today, it has a fleet of 19-including two Boeing 757s and two 727s2,500 employees and serves 10 cities in rine foreign countries of Asia, Europe and the Middle East as well as 38 domestic cestinations. …

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