Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the national flag carrier’s plane recently landed at the Riyadh-based King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia.
The landing marked the launch of the NAC’s direct flight between Kathmandu and Riyadh after the completion of 45 years of diplomatic rerlations between the two countries.
NAC outreach to Saudi Arabia, the second-largest country in terms of geographical size in the Middle East, is taken as not just the extension of NAC connectivity but it is viewed as a matter of Nepal’s pride and prestige.
Riyadh-based Nepali Embassy’s deputy chief of mission Dilip Kumar Paudel expressed his hope that connecting Kathmandu with Saudi Arabia with the NAC direct flight would not only contribute to further consolidating the diplomatic relations between the two nations but also help further widen a door of economic prosperity for the NAC. He was speaking at a programme organized in Riyadh on Saturday,
Non-Resident Nepali Association, Saudi Arabia coordinator Rajendra Aryal was of the view that the launch of the Kathmandu-Riyadh direct flight would contribute to promoting the country’s trade. “I am one among those Nepalis who are elated to see the presence of NAC in Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that onwards the trade between two nations would rise and the private could secure benefits from it.
Presently there are 400 thousand Nepalis in Saudi Arabia.
Nepal had to face complexities o bring the body of Nepai workers to Nepal, who lot their lives in different cities of Saudi Arabia including Riyadh, Dammam in the COVID-19 pandemic, in a lack of direct flight between Nepal and Saudi.
Executive Chairperson of NAC, Yubraj Adhikari, said that the direct flight to Riyadh would make a significant contribution to expanding NAC’s goodwill.
He added NAC’s flight to Riyadh was very fruitful. A bilateral air service agreement was signed between Nepal and Saudi Arabia in 2015. Nepal has signed an air service agreement with 40 different countries including Australia on September 30, 2019. It is the historic flight of NAC in its 63 years of journey.
Stakeholders said that NAC’s direct flight to Saudi Arabia would help create opportunities for tourism and economic investment in Nepal. Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) senior vice-president Chandra Prasad Dhakal believed that the commencement of direct flights by NAC to Saudi Arabia would be important in terms of promoting the investment of the non-resident Nepalis here in Nepal and trade promotion.