The aviation history of Nepal started in early 1950’s.Initially, neighboring Indian aircraft used to land on a mere cow grazing place called Gaucharan in Kathmandu. There are tales that a pilot waiting to land there had to buzz the airfield several times to shoo the cows off it before landing.
Until 1951, only a few foreigners had penetrated into Nepal. They were mainly British officers of the Gurkha troops, a few stray scholars and friends of the Royal family. Later on, Indian air companies started their operation for business purposes, and connected Nepal with Indian cities. After the establishment of the national flag carrier, the RNA, the route expansion of civil aviation made extensive progress domestically and internationally.
The civil aviation service started in Nepal in 1953 with three old American -made DC-3 Dakotas belonging to an Indian company. After five years, Nepal established her own registered airline, Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation in July 1958 with one DC-3. There were only 96 personnel then. At the beginning,its service was limited to Indian cities like Patna, Calcutta and Delhi in the International Sector and to Simara, Pokhara and Biratnagar in the Domestic Sector. The facilities provided at that time were limited.
Royal Nepal took over an international schedule in 1960. Starting with a fleet of Douglas DC-3’s, the airline quickly moved on to the turboprop Fokker F-27.
The commissioning of the remarkable Twin Otter and Pilatus Porter aircraft into the Royal Nepal Airlines fleet in 1970s brought about a quick and easy way of accessing many of the remote regions of the kingdom.
By the early 1970s the airline had introduced Hawker Siddeley HS-748 turboprops, and Boeing 727 jet airliners were introduced in 1972 after Kathmandu’s runway had been extended for medium sized jet operations. The Boeing 727s were gradually replaced by Boeing 757s.
At present NAC operates 6 international destinations namely Delhi in India, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur in South East /Far East Asia and Dubai and Doha in Middle East. Direct flights to and from Dubai were resumed from June 17, 2002 and flight Kuala Lumpur are recently operated from March, 31st, 2003. In Domestic operations it connects more than 25 destinations inside Nepal.
More than 90 percent of Nepal’s area is covered by mountains. Moreover, Nepal is also landlocked. Without the use of air transport, remote places are cut off from point of view of tourism, food supply and other essential requirement. There are places in Nepal where there are airports, where even though that particular district does not have even a decent road to use bicycles.
The transport system being the main factor for the economic development of the country, and NAC is a strong vehicle for national integration and has proved to be a symbol of freedom movement, both within and outside the country. It is the pride of Nepal.