Team Nepal keen to increase flight frequency
Could you please make some remarks on the occasion of 10th years of flying to Kathmandu by Cathay Dragon?
First of all, a big Thank You to Nepal for allowing us to fly here since for 10 years. It’s really a big milestone for us. Actually we have been flying to Kathmandu more than a decade. We have started flying here in 1989. During initial years we never had continuous operation. Tourism in Nepal was not established, economy was not good enough and there was not much good flow of outbound passengers from Nepal, and was difficult to maintain a flight regularly. So, during the time we never had continuous flight. In 2007 we started again our operation in Nepal with three flights a day, and now we have achieved a milestone of nonstop 10 years of operation in Nepalese sky with beginning of another decade. In the beginning back in 2007, we have started three flights a week with a narrow body small aircraft Airbus A320. Now within the 10 years of time we have already started flying five days a week with a wide body A330. We were one of the first legacy Asian carriers who started operation in Nepal with an aim to connect the world. In the decade of our operation, we brought millions of tourist from the different parts of the world and help them to view beautiful mountains in Nepal, helped them to enjoy white water rafting in Bhotekoshi or some of them enjoyed trekking to Ghandruk or Annapurna Base Camp. We also provided service to Nepalese students studying in America or we carried people working in Japan. We served millions of Nepalese tourist not only to Hong Kong but also beyond that.
Lots of airlines operating in Nepal has started their own online office in Kathmandu, are you satisfied with the operation through GSA in Nepal?
We are having relationship with our GSA longer than a decade; we are happy and proud in it. They are doing really good in this market. We also have a set of our online staffs to bridge the airline and GSA. But, the Cathay Dragon GSA team is like our online staffs. They are very much committed towards the growth of airlines and I have never felt that they are our GSA’s staffs. They are equally equipped with tools and connections to establish and acquire required services. I am proud having such a great team.
How is the competition Cathay facing in Nepalese sky?
Nowadays reality of aviation world is in extremely competitive landscape. So, we have to find our space in that competition. Cathay is very competitive globally having a full flagged service of a premier airline. We have very strong competition particular in Asia. We are facing strong competition in Singapore, Thailand and India just like in Nepal. We go with a strong completion now with Middle Eastian carrier. For Cathay it’s part of routine. Cathay has a good product having a strong network having a premium brand value. People understands us, people understands our strategy and rely in consistency of our service quality. I mean, Cathay Dragon and Cathay Pacific are taken as very premium brands which helped us to be in front row in spite of the heavy competition. That’s the global scenario and it’s pretty similar to Nepalese market. Investing heavily in our brand and being a purely listed company in a private investment we have always encouraged ourselves to accept the reality of competition and get best out of it. In my first visit to Nepal I was looking into revenue management. That time Qatar had one flight a day and now they have four flights from Kathmandu. It shows a tremendous potentiality in Nepalese market. That means airlines are giving very best run in terms of achieving market shares. I am not gone complain about that. With the best brand, product and best services we have acquired a lot good market share and retain a good numbers of frequent flyers with us. That’s really good result and hope to achieve more in coming days.
Nepal is a very very price sensitive market, how you have placed yourself in this market?
Nepal is a touristic destination and meanwhile lots of Nepalese are travelling outbound for study, work, visiting friends and family and even in vacations. So the flight is composed with both way traffic and we have perfect directional balance in our Kathmandu operation. So, being a really price sensitive market we are not much affected. We are competing here in the ground of our product quality and our network not in price and it has been a success for us.
Being a regional carrier of Cathay Pacific group how Cathay Dragon connects its passengers and services with Cathay Pacific?
It’s a really good question for me. Cathay Pacific group is operating two different airline brands with different management and operating routes. In this part of the world Cathay Pacific group operates their flight under the brand Cathay Dragon. Which is also a sole subsidiary of the group. Over the few years we have merged both brands under one service method. Rebranding of Dragon Air into Cathay Dragon was one of that processes. Now if we looked the aircraft visually, new livery and logo of Cathay Dragon is very very similar to Cathay Pacific. In the airport in Hong Kong we have a completely seamless service. The part we concerned as an airline is connecting between Cathay Dragon and Cathay Pacific in the process of connection we are completely seamless. In terms of on board services both airline staffs and crew are groomed together and we have similar services in terms of food and inflight entertainment.
What’s your plan regarding increment of flight frequency to Kathmandu?
It’s pretty crowed at the airport and there is very hard to find a room for an extra flight. Meanwhile, another side we have very high utilization of our aircrafts so at this moment I can’t declare anything regarding increment of flight frequency. I love to go daily and team Nepal is very keen to increase flights, but I don’t have any particular plan at the moment.