Buddha Air

Buddha Air
Nepali: बुद्ध एयर
Buddha Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
U4 BHA BUDDHA AIR
Founded23 April 1996; 26 years ago (1996-04-23)
Commenced operations11 October 1997; 24 years ago (1997-10-11)
AOC #014/1996[1]
HubsTribhuvan International Airport
Secondary hubsPokhara Airport
Frequent-flyer programRoyal Club
Fleet size16
Destinations14
HeadquartersJawalakhel, Lalitpur, Nepal
Key people
Employees1300+[2]
Websitewww.buddhaair.com
ATR 72-500 of Buddha Air with registration 9N-AMD at Pokhara Airport in 2018
Buddha Air ATR 72-500 in 2012.
Buddha Air ATR 42-300 at Pokhara Airport in 2014.

Buddha Air Pvt. Ltd (Nepali: बुद्ध एयर) is an airline based in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, Nepal, near Patan.[3][4] It operates domestic as well as international services within Nepal and India, serving mainly large towns and cities in Nepal. Currently, it operates 33 flight routes to 14 destinations of Nepal and an international flight to Varanasi of India.[5] Its main base is Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.[6] It was the largest domestic carrier in terms of passengers carried in 2020.[7]

History

The airline was established on 23 April 1996 as a Private Limited Company by Surendra Bahadur Basnet, a retired Supreme Court judge and former government minister; and his son Birendra Bahadur Basnet.[8][9] The name of the airline is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Buddha', a title used for the much revered Siddhartha Gautama. Operations commenced on 11 October 1997 with a sightseeing flight to Mount Everest using a brand new Beechcraft 1900D.[9] In 2001, the airline partnered with the Bhutanese flag carrier Drukair by whom an aircraft was chartered.[10] Within ten years the company had expanded to a fleet of seven 1900Ds.[11] In 2008 a loan from the International Finance Corporation allowed the company to expand further by purchasing two ATR 42 aircraft.[12] Buddha Air took delivery of its first 70-seat ATR 72-212 in June 2010.[13]

In 2020, Buddha Air announced first plans to enter the rural aviation market in Nepal by serving smaller STOL-airfields by Fall 2021.[14] This subsidiary called Yashodhara Air was set up in January 2021 with the aim of operating by 2022.[15]

International operations

Buddha Air became the first international airline to operate charters to Paro Airport in Bhutan in August 2010.[16]

In 2011, Buddha Air began international flights from Pokhara Airport to Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow, India,[17] however these flights were discontinued soon after. The airline also announced plans to fly to New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport in the future.[18] Internationally, Varanasi Airport is also seasonally served from Tribhuvan International Airport.

Destinations

Buddha Air also operates flights for the mountain sightseeing.

Buddha Air flies to the following destinations as of November 2020.[19][20][21]

International
Country City IATA ICAO Airport Notes Refs.
Bhutan Paro PBH VQPR Paro Airport Terminated
India Guwahati GAU VEGT Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport Terminated [22]
Kolkata CCU VECC Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Terminated [23][24]
Lucknow LKO VILK Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport Terminated [25]
Varanasi VNS VEBN Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport
Nepal Kathmandu KTM VNKT Tribhuvan International Airport Hub
Domestic
Nepal Bhadrapur BDP VNCG Bhadrapur Airport
Bhairahawa BWA VNBW Gautam Buddha Airport
Bharatpur BHR VNBP Bharatpur Airport
Biratnagar BIR VNVT Biratnagar Airport
Birendranagar SKH VNSK Surkhet Airport [26]
Dhangadhi DHI VNDH Dhangadhi Airport
Janakpur JKR VNJP Janakpur Airport
Jitpur Simara SIF VNSI Simara Airport
Nepalgunj KEP VNNG Nepalgunj Airport
Pokhara PKR VNPK Pokhara Airport Focus city
Rajbiraj RJB VNRB Rajbiraj Airport [27]
Tumlingtar TMI VNTR Tumlingtar Airport

Buddha Air also operates scheduled mountain sightseeing flights from Kathmandu to Mount Everest range and from Pokhara to the Annapurna Massif. The flights usually depart in the early morning hours and return to the respective airports one hour later.[28][29]

Fleet

Current Fleet

Buddha Air's fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of March 2022).[30] The airline has planned to add 3 Airbus A320 aircraft by 2022.[31]

Buddha Air fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
ATR 42-300 3 47 47
ATR 72-500 11 3[32] 70 70 [33]
Beechcraft 1900D 2 19 19
Total 16 3

Former fleet

Buddha Air historic fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Beechcraft 1900C 2003 2009 [34]

Hangar

Buddha Air is the first airline in Nepal, and one of few in South Asia, to have a state of the art closed-door hangar facility. Built at a cost of US$2.5 million at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Buddha Air also provides aircraft maintenance facilities to other airlines as well, particularly the Bangladeshi airline Novoair which sends its ATR aircraft for maintenance at the hangar.[citation needed]

Buddha Air is planning to construct another hangar that can accommodate aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A319 at under-construction Pokhara International Airport.[35]

Accidents and incidents

  • On 11 November 2003, a scheduled Buddha Air flight from Kathmandu en route to Biratnagar mistakenly landed in Bhairahawa Airport, owing to the air traffic and a subsequent slip-up in communication in Kathmandu.[36]
  • On 25 September 2011, Buddha Air Flight 103 crashed near the end of a sightseeing flight of the Mount Everest region. All 19 passengers and crew on board the Beechcraft 1900D died when it crashed near Kathmandu's airport while attempting to land.[37][38] Out of the 19 passengers, 10 were Indian nationals, 2 were US nationals, 1 Japanese and 6 were Nepalese. The crew of 3 were also Nepalese.
  • On 18 December 2020, Buddha Air Flight 505, which took off from Tribhuvan International Airport en route to Janakpur Airport landed in Pokhara Airport. According to the airline, there was a mixup due to lapses in communication and failure to follow detailed standard operating procedures.[39][40]

Trivia

In 2015, Buddha Air became the shirt sponsor of Biratnagar based football club Morang XI, who played in Nepal's highest football league, the Nepal National League.[41]

References

  1. ^ "Civil Aviation Report 2017" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 September 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Company Profile 2018". Buddha Air. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Domestic/International Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine." Buddha Air. Retrieved on 26 September 2011. "The company headquarters is located at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur"
  4. ^ "Contact Information Archived 2011-09-25 at the Wayback Machine." Buddha Air. Retrieved on September 25, 2011. "Buddha Air Pvt. Ltd Pulchowk Rd Patan"
  5. ^ "My Business: Nepalese airline taking off". BBC. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  6. ^ Flight International 27 March 2007
  7. ^ "Airlines struggle to remain in the air by discounting fares". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  8. ^ "Company Profile". Buddha Air. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  9. ^ a b "History". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Kuensel Highlights" (PDF). Spur of the Momo. Canadian Cooperation Office. 8 (1): 4. December 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  11. ^ "Seven Aircrafts [sic]". Buddha Yatra (Buddha Air Inflight Magazine). Buddha Air. July 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  12. ^ Seth, Minakshi (18 July 2012). "IFC Loan to Buddha Air to Improve Air Travel Connectivity in Nepal" (Press release). Kathmandu, Nepal: International Finance Corporation. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Bigger Aircraft Better Comfort in Nepalese SKY" (Press release). Buddha Air. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  14. ^ Prasain, Sangam (December 5, 2020). "Buddha Air plans to fly to remote areas could be a game changer in domestic aviation, experts say". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  15. ^ "New Buddha Air subsidiary, Yashodhara Air, to commence operations in 2022". CAPA. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  16. ^ Buddha Air in service Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Bhutan Broadcasting Service, 24 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Buddha Air Lucknow flight" Archived 19 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, buddhaair.com, accessed 28 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Buddha Air plans to start Pokhara-New Delhi flight" Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, "Tour Nepal", accessed 28 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Domestic Flights Schedules". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 5 January 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Domestic Schedule". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  21. ^ "International Schedule". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Buddha Air prepares to operate flights at its new international destination: Guwahati". Aviation Nepal. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Buddha Air to launch budget flights to Kolkata".
  24. ^ "High operating costs and few passengers force Buddha Air to cancel Kolkata flights". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Buddha Air set to start Lucknow service today". The Kathmandu Post. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Buddha Air to resume Surkhet flights". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  27. ^ "#HappyAlert". Buddha Air. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Pokhara Mountain Flight". Buddha Air. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  29. ^ World Air Routes retrieved 18 November 2006
  30. ^ "Buddha Air Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Buddha Air settles on Airbus for int'l ops". ch-aviation. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  32. ^ "Nepal's Buddha Air Plans Fleet Expansion". Smart Aviation Asia Pacific. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Another ATR 72-500 will join the fleet of Buddha Air tomorrow". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  34. ^ "BUDDHA AIR - FLEET". Planelogger. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  35. ^ "Buddha Air to build hangar in Pokhara". Aviation Nepal. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  36. ^ Singh Khadka, Navin (14 November 2003). "Winging it". Nepali Times. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Mount Everest Tour Plane Crashes in Nepal." NYCAviation. 25 September 2011
  38. ^ "Nepal tourist plane crashes near Kathmandu killing 19" BBC News. 25 September 2011
  39. ^ Prasain, Sangam (20 December 2020). "How a Buddha Air plane flew the wrong way and landed 255 kilometres away". The Kathmandu Post. Archived from the original on 2020-12-20. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  40. ^ "Nepali airline Buddha Air flies passengers to the wrong airport". CNN. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  41. ^ "Nepal Police and Morang match end in draw". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 12 March 2021.

External links

  • flagNepal portal
  • Companies portal
  • Aviation portal
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buddha Air.
  • Official website