Cosmic Air to add to fleet, routes

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 27:

After the successful operation of Fokker 100 jet aircraft in both domestic and regional routes, Cosmic Air plans to expand its fleet and route in order to cater to a growing demand, while continuing its position as a budget and low frills airline.

“We are set to expand our fleet and international routes as a low budget airline, keeping in mind the increased demand,” says Lawrence K C Liew, newly-appointed general manager- marketing, Cosmic Air.

As part of the expansion plan, the airline is adding one more 105-seater Fokker 100 aircraft by the first week of next month. “We’ll be shortly flying to Paro in Bhutan and Mumbai after the arrival of the third Fokker-100,” he said. While talking to The Himalayan Times, Liew also revealed that Cosmic Air plans to add up to eight Fokker 100s in its fleet in the next two years and to fly to more international destinations, especially regional destinations. Future routes of the airlines will be mostly to Indian subcontinent region and some East Asian countries.

“A Cosmic Air delegation is visiting Bhutan from Monday for necessary preparations needed to start operations,” he informed. Besides Paro and Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Lucknow and Yangon via Kolkata are some major future destinations of Cosmic Air. The airline also plans to connect Bodhgaya, Lucknow and Banaras from Bhairahawa to cater to air services to Buddhist pilgrims willing to come to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. “Our basic strategy will be to have low airfare with higher number of frequencies and better connectivity,” he said, when asked about the competitive factor for the airline. He also said that current occupancy rate of Cosmic Air is about 70-80 per cent in domestic sector, whereas 60-70 per cent in international routes.

In domestic sector, it plans to operate between Kathmandu-Pokhara sector with the Fokker-100. The airline has already started operations on domestic destinations like Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Bhairahawa.

“Vigorous marketing and expansion plans along with up-gradation of services and human resources are part of positioning for the Cosmic Air as a fast expanding private airline of Nepal,” said former country manager of Singapore Airlines.

The airline is also planning to provide in-flight catering on the international routes. “An understanding has been reached with Everest Hotel to provide food on-board,” he said. Currently, the airline operates two daily flights to Delhi and three flights a week to Dhaka.

Apart from the fleet and route expansion, Cosmic Air is also busy with internal reforms and improvements in terms of system up-gradation, manpower training and having additional recruitment, to ensure better and reliable services, Liew said.

Cosmic Air’s Fokker-100 is piloted by a mix of international crew with over 5000 hours flying experience and engineering and maintenance support are provided by TAT, France.

Currently the airline has a fleet of five aircrafts including two Fokker-100, two Dornier-228s and a SAAB 340. The airline is the first private airline to operate jet aircraft in domestic routes.