Sichuan Airlines of China is starting daily flights on Chengdu-Lhasa-Kathmandu sector from January next year

The airline has appointed Society Travels as its General Sales Agent (GSA) of Nepal. It operates a fleet of 93 aircraft including Airbus A319, A320, A321 and A330. "Kathmandu is a dynamic destination for Sichuan Airlines, from tourism and business point of view, as Nepal is one of the desired travel and business destinations for Chinese," the airline said in a statement.

Chinese travelers to Nepal crossed the 100,000 mark last year reaching an all-time high of 113,173, and it is expected to reach 250,000 within couple of years. Nepal has witnessed a constant growth in Chinese arrivals since June 2009 after being granted the Approved Destination Status (ADS) by China National Tourism Administration in 2002.

Considering increasing arrivals from China, China has proposed to Nepal to revise the Air Service Agreement (ASA) between the two countries. Currently, Air China, China Eastern and China Southern operate to Kathmandu from different Chinese cities.

Established in 1986, Sichuan Airlines offers regional flights throughout China. Initially it used to operate only scheduled domestic flights from its hubs in Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming. Of late, it has started long-haul flights on overseas destinations.

Sichuan Airlines commenced international services in 2007. It is currently flying to Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Phuket, Saipan, Seoul, Taichung, Tapei Songshan and Taipei Taoyuan. The airlines is planning to expand its network to cities in Europe and North America, according to the statement.

"We are excited that Sichuan Airlines has chosen Kathmandu as its latest destination as Chinese travelers are our fastest growing source market and we expect that Sichuan Airlines will further stimulate the growth" Rabi Chandra Singh, chairman of Society Travels, said in the statement.

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