China’s Tibet Airlines is expected to launch Himalaya Airlines in conjunction with Nepal’s Himalaya Aviation Investment Co. and Nepal’s Yeti Air International.
The new venture, which is scheduled to launch Oct. 28, has a registered capital of $25 million. The two Nepalese companies hold a 51% stake and Tibet Airlines holds a 49% stake.
Its first route will be Kathmandu-Lhasa, followed by service to Chengdu.
Himalaya Airlines plans to lease at least three Airbus A320s in the first year, expanding the fleet to five aircraft in the second year. Over the next five years, the new carrier expects to expand its fleet to 15 A320 aircraft. After that, it would consider investing $1 billion to $1.5 billion to purchase widebody aircraft.
“We will put widebody aircraft into service on the sector based on the travel demand,” Tibet Airlines chairman Cheng Yiru said, adding that Himalaya Airlines will employ at least 1,000 people and boost tourism to Nepal.
Tibet Airlines—from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China—is based at Lhasa Gongga Airport and is one of the world’s highest airports at an altitude of 12,000 ft. It launched operations in 2011 and currently operates a fleet of nine A320 aircraft. It connects 24 destinations within China.