KATHMANDU, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Himalaya Airlines on Sunday started its inaugural flight from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu to Qingdao in Shandong Province of eastern China.
The H97220 flight took off in the morning with 114 passengers aboard, and the return H97221 flight is scheduled to come back to Kathmandu in the evening.
The airline is operating a round trip from Kathmandu to Qingdao on an A320 plane every Sunday.
In June, the Kathmandu-based airline, a Nepal-China joint venture established in August 2014, resumed direct flights between Kathmandu and Beijing which were suspended for three years over the COVID-19.
Every new air route added by Himalaya Airlines will bring new Chinese nationals to Nepal, and promote people-to-people exchanges and the tourism industry in Nepal, noted Chen Song, Chinese ambassador to Nepal.
"In addition to fostering economic cooperation, this new route will also serve as a bridge for deepening our friendship," Chen said at the inauguration ceremony held at the airport.
"I'm very happy that we are having the very first international flight from Nepal to Qingdao City," said Sudan Kirati, Nepal's minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation.
"I believe the flight between Nepal and Qingdao will bring more and more Chinese tourists to Nepal," the minister added.
The tourism sector is a major foreign currency earner and job creator for Nepal. ■