Buddha Air

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Buddha Air
बुद्ध एयर
Buddha Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded23 April 1996; 23 years ago (1996-04-23)
Commenced operations11 October 1997; 22 years ago (1997-10-11)
AOC #014/1996[1]
HubsTribhuvan International Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programRoyal Club
Fleet size13
Company sloganFly with us
HeadquartersJawalakhel, Lalitpur, Nepal
Key people
ATR 72-500 of Buddha Air with registration 9N-AMD at Pokhara Airport in 2018

Buddha Air Pvt. Ltd (Nepali: बुद्ध एयर) is an airline based in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur District, Nepal, near Patan.[3][4] It operates domestic as well as international services within Nepal and India, serving mainly large towns and cities in Nepal. Currently, it operates 33 flight routes in around 15 destinations of Nepal and an international flight to Varanasi of India. [5] Its main base is Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.[6] It was the largest domestic carrier in terms of passengers carried in 2018[7][8].


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 son Birendra Bahadur Basnet.[9][10] Operations commenced on 11 October 1997 with a sightseeing flight to Mount Everest using a brand new Beechcraft 1900D.[10] Within ten years the company had expanded to a fleet of seven 1900Ds.[11] In 2008 a loan from the International Finance Corporation allowed the company to expand further by purchasing two ATR 42 aircraft.[12] Buddha Air took delivery of its first 70-seat ATR 72-212 in June 2010.[13] The name of the airline is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Buddha', a title used for the much revered Siddhartha Gautama.


Buddha Air also operates flights for the mountain sightseeing.

Buddha Air operates domestic flights to 12 destinations as well as 2 international destinations as of November 2019.[14][15] The airline also offers air charter flights and daily mountain sightseeing flights.[16] Buddha Air became the first foreign airline to start flights to Paro, Bhutan, in summer 2010, which was the airline's first international destination as well.

Buddha Air flies to the following destinations as of July 2019.[17]

Country City IATA ICAO Airport Notes Refs.
Bhutan Paro PBH VQPR Paro Airport Terminated
India Guwahati GAU VEGT Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport Terminated [18]
Kolkata CCU VECC Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Terminated[19] [20]
Lucknow LKO VILK Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport Terminated [21]
Varanasi VNS VEBN Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport
Nepal Kathmandu KTM VNKT Tribhuvan International Airport Hub
Nepal Bhadrapur BDP VNCG Bhadrapur Airport
Bhairahawa BWA VNBW Gautam Buddha Airport
Bharatpur BHR VNBP Bharatpur Airport
Biratnagar BIR VNVT Biratnagar Airport
Birendranagar SKH VNSK Surkhet Airport [22]
Dhangadhi DHI VNDH Dhangadhi Airport
Janakpur JKR VNJP Janakpur Airport
Jitpur Simara SIF VNSI Simara Airport
Nepalgunj KEP VNNG Nepalgunj Airport
Pokhara PKR VNPK Pokhara Airport
Tumlingtar TMI VNTR Tumlingtar Airport

Buddha Air also operates scheduled mountain sightseeing flights from Kathmandu to Mount Everest range and from Pokhara to the Annapurna Massif. The flights usually depart in the early morning hours and return to the respective airports one hour later.[23][24]


Buddha Air ATR 72-500 in 2012.
Buddha Air ATR 42-300 at Pokhara Airport in 2014.

Buddha Air's fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of March 2019).[25] The airline has planned to add 3 Airbus A320 aircraft by 2021.[26]

Buddha Air fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
ATR 42-300 3 47 47
ATR 72-500 8 1[27] 70 70
Beechcraft 1900D 2 19 19
Total 13 1


Buddha Air is the first airline in Nepal, and one of few in South Asia to have a state of the art closed door hangar facility. Built at a cost of US$2.5 million at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Buddha Air also provides aircraft maintenance facilities to other airlines as well, particularly the Bangladeshi airline Novoair which sends its ATR aircraft for maintenance at the hangar.[citation needed]

Accidents and Incidents[edit]

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.[28][29] Out of the 19 passengers 10 were Indian nationals, 2 were US nationals, 1 was Japanese and 6 were Nepalese. The crew member of 3 were also Nepalese.


  • 2000: 3rd World Aviation, Education and Safety Congress -[30] in Appreciation of Participation and Contribution. November, 2000.
  • 2000: Pacific Asia Travel Association, Nepal Chapter – in appreciation of Outstanding Rupee 1 Contribution (1998-1999) from your Grateful Colleagues at -Pacific Asia Travel Association, Nepal Chapter. August 2000
  • 2005: United Nations World Tourism Day - Being First among Private Sector Airlines in Foreign Exchange Earnings during fiscal years: 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
  • 2006: Pacific Asia Travel Association – in appreciation for strong support and valuable contribution to the Pacific Travel Association for the years: 2000, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2006/07.
  • 2006: Government of Nepal, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. “Safety and Security – First and Always the Top Priority”- Awarded for the Highest Safety Record 2006 on the Occasion of International Civil Aviation Day.
  • 2008: Pratt & Whitney, Canada Corporation - In Recognition for the Introduction into Service of Pw100 Engines and Appreciation for your Long Standing Relationship with Pratt & Whitney, Canada and the Exemplary Operational Safety of the Pt6a Engine in Nepal since 1998 on 16 September 2008.
  • 2012: Government of Nepal - Recognized by the government as "Highest Income Tax Payer in Tourism Industry" in the year 2012.
  • 2014: Government of Nepal: Highest Income Tax Payer in Aviation Tourism Sector[31]
  • 2014: IPMA: Project Excellence Award - Bronze Winner in Medium and Big Sized Projects
  • 2016: Frost & Sullivan: Nepal's Best Domestic Airlines Award[32]
  • 2017: Nepal Brand Leadership Award: Organized by CMO Asia on 18 December 2017. #BuddhaAir #FlyWithUs
  • 2017: Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for Everest Experience Mountain flight.
  • 2018: Frost and Sullivan, Best Practices Award 2018[33]
  • 2018: Nepal Domestic Airlines Company of the Year Award.[34]
  • 2018: Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for Everest Experience Mountain flight.


Buddha Air is the current shirt sponsor of Biratnagar based football club Morang XI, who currently play in Nepal's highest football league, the Martyr's Memorial A-Division League.


  1. ^ "Civil Aviation Report 2017" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Company Profile 2018". Buddha Air. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Domestic/International Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine." Buddha Air. Retrieved on 26 September 2011. "The company headquarters is located at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur"
  4. ^ "Contact Information Archived 2011-09-25 at the Wayback Machine." Buddha Air. Retrieved on September 25, 2011. "Buddha Air Pvt. Ltd Pulchowk Rd Patan"
  5. ^ "My Business: Nepalese airline taking off". BBC. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  6. ^ Flight International 27 March 2007
  7. ^ "Tribhuvan International Airport posts 12 percent passenger growth in 2018". The Kathmandu Post. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Buddha air tops domestic flights count". Aviation Nepal. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Company Profile". Buddha Air. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  10. ^ a b "History". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Seven Aircrafts [sic]". Buddha Yatra (Buddha Air inflight magazine). Buddha Air. July 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  12. ^ Seth, Minakshi (18 July 2012). "IFC Loan to Buddha Air to Improve Air Travel Connectivity in Nepal" (Press release). Kathmandu, Nepal: International Finance Corporation. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Bigger Aircraft Better Comfort in Nepalese SKY" (Press release). Buddha Air. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Domestic Schedule". Buddha Air. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  15. ^ "International Schedule". Buddha Air. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  16. ^ Nepal Tourism Directory Archived November 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine retrieved 18 November 2006
  17. ^ "Domestic Flights Schedules". Buddha Air. Archived from the original on 5 January 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Buddha Air prepares to operate flights at its new international destination: Guwahati". Aviation Nepal. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  19. ^ "High operating costs and few passengers force Buddha Air to cancel Kolkata flights". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Buddha Air to launch budget flights to Kolkata".
  21. ^ "Buddha Air set to start Lucknow service today". The Kathmandu Post. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Buddha Air to resume Surkhet flights". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Pokhara Mountain Flight". Buddha Air. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  24. ^ World Air Routes retrieved 18 November 2006
  25. ^ "Buddha Air Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Buddha Air settles on Airbus for int'l ops". ch-aviation. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  27. ^ "Buddha Air preparing to add three ATR 72-500". Aviation Nepal. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Mount Everest Tour Plane Crashes in Nepal." NYCAviation. 25 September 2011
  29. ^ "Nepal tourist plane crashes near Kathmandu killing 19" BBC News. 25 September 2011
  30. ^ "Awards". buddhaair.com. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  31. ^ "Awards". Buddha Air. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  32. ^ "बुध्द एयर उत्कृष्ट वायुसेवा कम्पनीबाट सम्मानित" (in Nepali). Thaha Khabar. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  33. ^ "Frost & Sullivan Nepal". facebook.com. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  34. ^ "बुद्ध एयरलाई उत्कृष्ट घरेलु एयरलायन्स कम्पनी अवार्ड" (in Nepali). Retrieved 2018-04-09.

External links[edit]