BB Airways, a Nepalese international airline dating back to 2012, is planning to restart operations late this summer after acquiring a grounded Boeing 757-200 from flag carrier Nepal Airlines.
BB Airways started operations in 2012, using a leased Boeing 757-200 from Cambodia’s now-defunct TonleSap Airlines to operate flights throughout Asia from its hub in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital. In February 2013, the aircraft’s lease expired, and the airline was forced to cease operations while looking for new aircraft. After a failed stint with two Airbus A320s in 2014, the airline purchased the 30-year old Boeing 757-200 (9N-ACA) from Nepal Airlines for US$1.41 million (NPR145 million) last year, however, the purchase was only finalized recently, according to Aviation Nepal.
BB Airways stated that it is expecting repairs to cost about US$487,500 (NPR50 million), and is aiming to begin operations to New Delhi, followed by Bangkok, Doha, and unspecified destinations in Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.
However, sources in Nepal have speculated that the airline will have a hard time beginning services, as the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is denying the transfer of ownership of the aircraft due to BB Airways’ lack of an active Air Operator Certificate (AOC), which was terminated in 2013 by the CAAN after it failed to adhere to ICAO parameters. In addition, the CAAN announced today that they will not be issuing new AOCs due to escalating air traffic and gate shortages at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.
If the airline gets off the ground, it will face increased competition in the international market compared to 2012. Nepal Airlines replaced its Boeing 757-200 fleet last year with a fleet of new Airbus A320 aircraft, and is planning to take delivery of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft this summer to operate flights to Europe and throughout Asia. Meanwhile, Himalaya Airlines, owned by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, started operations in 2016 and now operates three Airbus A320 aircraft to six destinations. In addition, 27 other international carriers operate flights to Kathmandu.
Featured image via Aviation Nepal.