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KATHMANDU: Malaysia’s Malindo Air is seeking to launch flights to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu from January 18 next year.

The airline has sought official authorisation from the Nepalese Government for permission to operate the Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu route with Boeing 737 aircraft, said officials at Nepal's Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The process for granting permission is underway, said BK Shrestha of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

If granted, Malindo Air will be the third Malaysian airline, after Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, to serve the Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu route, which has been one of the most lucrative sectors in recent years with the rapid rise in the number of Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia.

Officials said that travellers often have to wait long to get tickets on the Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu sector, and the launch of Malindo Airlines’ flights to Kathmandu will ease this.

Currently Malaysia Airlines operates two flights daily, while Air Asia operates 11 flights a week.

Malaysia and Nepal have signed an Air Service Agreement which allows 27 flights a week between the two countries with seven additional weekly flights under the temporary operating permit scheme to cope with the increased demand.

As the quota of weekly 27 fights under the existing air service agreement is almost used up, Malaysia and Nepal are preparing to revise this agreement probably in the first week of January next year, according to ministry officials.

Nepal has proposed to Malaysia to allow at least 42 flights a week on the Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu route.

Malaysia is the number one destination for Nepalese migrant workers. A total of 156,770 Nepalese migrant workers left for Malaysia last year alone.-- Bernama

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