Facts to learn about the mountain flights
On November 24, 2018, tourism entrepreneurs of Biratnagar launched their first mountain flight from Biratnagar airport. Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai and his cabinet members were aboard in this inaugural mountain flight of Province 1.
Tourism entrepreneur Bhabish Shrestha, also the chairperson of a travel agency named Birat Holidays, led this pioneering campaign.
Previously, mountain flight was possible only from Kathmandu and Pokhara. It was ensured from Biratnagar airport every Saturday during the season- November 2018.
Yeti Airlines' jet streamer made weekly flights above 22,000 feet carrying 19 plus passengers with individual window seats to peep captivating Himalayas of Nepal.
Tragically, this maiden mountain flight ended after few flights thanks to the unwillingness of domestic passengers and the unavailability of Indian tourists. Tourism entrepreneur Basudev Baral said Indian tourists did not turn up, as the Indian marketing strategy was not strong enough to lure them.
However, Baral is optimistic that in the aftermath of the third wave of the pandemic, the mountain flights can be resumed in the upcoming autumn season. ''Travelers are exhausted by pandemic and they are aiming for ways to escape this trouble'', said Baral. He added, ''We have to devise strong marketing and hospitality strategy from right now.''
Here are five things to know about this mountain flight once hosted from East Nepal's biggest airport Biratnagar.
One: This is the first commercial mountain flight from east Nepal (Province 1). Previously only Kathmandu and Pokhara would make flights for mountain sight.
Two: The first test of mountain flight was held from Biratnagar airport at a Birat Expo event that was held from February 22 to 28, 2017. The test flight was not successful as expected. However, Birat Holidays made the first commercial mountain flight since 24 November 2018.
Three: Along with Mount Everest, mountain flight from Biratnagar gives crystal clear views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Kumbhakarna, and other top peaks on the planet which may not be always possible in the mountain flight made from Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Four: Mountain flight from Biratnagar is the nearest mountain flight venue in Nepal from the international border with India. It is just within 14.3 kilometers for a vehicular drive from the Indian border point of Jogbani, Bihar.
Five: The cost of a mountain flight is one of the budget fares in the world. For foreigners, it costs from 190-220 dollars in Kathmandu. However, it is available for just 140 dollars from Biratnagar. For Nepalis and Indians, it is just 9900 Nepalese rupees, the cheapest one in Nepal.