By setting up its own aircraft maintenance and training hangar at Kathmandu airport, Buddha Air, Nepal's leading private airline, has taken another leap forward.
Besides Nepal Airlines, Buddha is the second private company to own a hangar at Tribhuvan International Airport. Buddha Air decided to invest $2.5 million taking into account its growing fleet size which recently welcomed a new aircraft.
The hangar was inaugurated on Wednesday in the presence of Buddha's managing director, Birendra Bahadur Basnet and Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Lokendra Bista. The minister congratulated Buddha Air for adding a feather on its cap. "I would like to assure you that the government is always ready to support initiatives which ensure a safer sky," he said.
Buddha Air currently operates a fleet of three ATR 72-500s three ATR 42s and four Raytheon Beech 1900Ds. The airline also operates international flights to Lucknow and Banaras in India, as well as charter flights to Paro in Bhutan. "The hangar augments our fleet expansion plans, and provides the necessary maintenance and training backup," Basnet explained.
Buddha Air also signed an agreement with the Franco-Italian company ATR, for the purchase of another $7.9 million ATR 72-500 to its fleet. Loans for the hangar and aircraft are being provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Kyle Kelhoffer of IFC and ATR's Filippo Bagnato were also present at the signing ceremony inside the new hangar on Wednesday.