Buddha Air Pvt. Ltd (Nepali: बुद्ध एयर - Buddha Eyr) is an airline based in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur District, Nepal, near Patan. It operates domestic as well as international services within Nepal and India, serving mainly large towns and cities in Nepal, linking Kathmandu with ten destinations and Varanasi of India. Since its establishment in 1997 it has become the largest domestic air operator in Nepal. Its main base is Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. It also operates mountain flights from Kathmandu to the Everest range.
The airline was established on 23 April 1996 as a Private Limited Company by Surendra Bahadur Basnet, a retired Supreme Court judge and former government minister; and his youngest son Shivendra Bahadur Basnet, a helicopter pilot. Operations commenced on 11 October 1997 with a sightseeing flight to Mount Everest using a brand new Beechcraft 1900D. Within ten years the company had expanded to a fleet of seven 1900Ds. In 2008 a loan from the International Finance Corporation allowed the company to expand further by purchasing two ATR 42 aircraft. Buddha Air took delivery of its first 70-seat ATR 72 in June 2010. The name of the airline is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Buddha', a title used for the much revered Siddharta Gautama.
The airline also offers air charter flights and daily mountain sightseeing flights. Buddha Air became the first foreign airline to start flights to Paro, Bhutan, in summer 2010, which was the airline's first international destination.
On 25 September 2011, Buddha Air Flight 103 crashed near the end of a sightseeing flight of the Mount Everest region. All 19 passengers and crew on board the Beechcraft 1900D died when it crashed near Kathmandu's airport while attempting to land.