Altitude Air brings first Airbus helicopter for commercial operation

KATHMANDU: The Altitude Air Pvt Ltd has said that the company brought its first Airbus helicopter for commercial operations in the country.

According to Nima Nuru Sherpa, Managing Director of the company, the six-seater AS 350(H125) B3E chopper has successfully conducted its test flight to Manakamana from Kathmandu’s Trbhuvan International Airport on Monday.

With an impressive cargo-swing load capacity, the chopper was renowned globally for high altitude search and rescue works, Sherpa informed.

“The commercial flight will be commenced in a day or two after getting the air operators’ certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

The single-engine chopper was assembled at a hangar of Buddha Air at the TIA by two Italian engineers from the Airbus.

The company had purchased the chopper from the Airbus at around Rs 260 million. All paper works to obtain the AOC have already been completed.

“Also, we have a plan to buy three more choppers within a year,” he informed, adding that the company would all add more helicopters manufactured by Augusta, an Italian chopper manufacturer, in coming days.

According to the Airbus, the H125 series are currently in-service worldwide, and are mainly used for high performance missions in high and hot conditions.

“The H125 is a member of Airbus Helicopters' rugged and proven Ecureuil family and some 6,000 Ecureuils have been delivered in nearly 120 countries for some 1,800 operators,” the company said.

The board of directors of the company includes Chairman Lakpa Sonam Sherpa (Thamserku Trekking), MD Nima Nuru Sherpa (Cho-Oyu Treks), Vice-chairman Furba Gyaljen Sherpa (Himalayan Sherpa Adventure), Jiban Ghimire (Shangri-La Nepal Treks) and Ram Prasad Sapkota (Himalayan Social Journey Treks).

The tourism entrepreneurs also plan to invest nearly Rs one billion to ensure good quality service, according to Sherpa.

There are seven more helicopter companies operating in the country.