In the market for a cut-price rate for your next airline charter? Nepal Airlines may be your go-to airline. Following a reduction in the oil price, the Kathmandu-based airline is cutting the hourly charter rates for both its narrowbody and widebody Airbus jets.
Nepal Airlines discounts charter rates for its Airbus jets
Typically, if you wanted to charter one of Nepal Airlines’ two Airbus A330-200s, you’d pay US$15,520 per hour. Now, their A330s are available at the discounted rate of $13,460 per hour. If that’s still a little hot and heavy for your Mastercard, Nepal Airlines’ A320-200s are available for just $6,580 per hour, down from $7,710 per hour.
Nepal Airlines notes these are price reductions of 13% and 15%, respectively. The cut in charter rates is attributed to a 20% decrease in jet fuel prices in Nepal. The state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation controls the supply of jet fuel in Nepal. Nepal has the dubious reputation of having the world’s most expensive jet fuel. Jet fuel comprises a very substantial portion of a flight’s operating costs. Consequently, jetting around Nepal isn’t the cheapest experience.
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State-owned jet fuel supplier moves to support the Nepalese airline industry
On the weekend, in an effort to prop up the local aviation industry, Nepal Oil Corporation reduced jet fuel price – apparently an unusual event. Nepal Airlines followed suit with the cut in their charter rates. However, the 13% and 15% price reductions don’t match the 20% cut in the jet fuel price. If hiring an entire plane is a bit beyond your budget or tastes, Nepal Airlines is also offering a 15% fare discount for all Nepalese government and public service employees and their families.
The drop in jet fuel prices is a small break for Nepal Airlines, and you can’t begrudge the airline for not passing on the full savings to customers because the past year has proved seriously problematic for them.
State-owned Nepal Airlines does not publish transparent financial data. But the airline is widely reported to be severely debt-burdened. Nepalese media reported Nepal’s airline industry losing over US$1.5 billion in 2020, a lot of money for a small developing nation.
Slimmed-down schedules for Nepal Airlines
Midway through 2021, three of Nepal Airlines’ four jets remain parked. The airline is flying a single Airbus A320-200. Domestic flights are occurring, using a pair of De Havilland DHC 3-600 aircraft. But international services remain restricted, in line with Nepali Government policy. Nepal Airlines is currently operating a Wednesday flight to New Delhi (DEL) and a Monday flight to Doha (DOH).
If that seems like a slight schedule, it is more than double what the three international airlines currently allowed to fly into Nepal can operate. Air India is allowed to fly into Nepal once a week, on Fridays. Turkish Airlines flies in once a week on Thursday, and Qatar Airways flies in on Mondays.
Meanwhile, if you are eyeing one of those discount charters, don’t plan a flight to or from Europe. Last week, Europe’s aviation safety regulator, EASA, extended its ban on any Nepalese airline flying into EU airports. That long-running ban has been in place since 2013. One of the consequences of that ban is many other countries outside the EU are also unenthused about Nepalese planes flying into their airports. Unfortunately, that limits the opportunity for your next charter using the discounted Nepal Airlines rate.