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Himalayan leases Yeti aircraft, seeks permit to fly to Bhutan, India

Himalaya Airlines has leased a Yeti Airlines Jet stream aircraft and applied for 'proving' flight permission to operate on a Bhutan or India route in a bid to acquire an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Himalaya is a joint venture between Yeti Airlines Group, Himalaya Infrastructure Fund Aviation Investment Company and Tibet Airlines. The airline sources said they have taken an "alternative move" as the revised Air Operator Certificate Regulation 2012 allows the regulator to issue an AOC for the new airlines only after the operator acquires an aircraft. As per the plan, Himalaya will put the Jet stream into international charter services to India or Bhutan and will bring A320 jets into the fleet.

Nepal‚ India to jointly promote tourism

Nepal and India agreed to jointly promote the Buddhist Circuit (Sarnath-Bodhgaya-Kushinagar-Lumbini-Swayambhunath-Kankrebihar) and two other religious circuits namely, Pashupatinath-Muktinath-Gosaikunda-Varanasi-Kamakhya-Bhubaneshwar and Janakpur-Ayodhya during the first meeting of the joint working group (on tourism) held in New Delhi. Both the parties agreed to sell joint packages for the Buddhist circuit in the international market by setting up joint travel marts in the international market. The 12-member team, including the private sector, led by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Joint Secretary Umakanta Parajuli held a meeting with the team led by his Indian counterpart. Both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding joint promotion and exchange of tourism related information, according to Shree jana Rana, senior vice president of Hotel Association Nepal.

Malaysia seeks hike in flight frequency to 42 a week

Nepal and Malaysia are scheduled to revise their bilateral air service agreement (ASA) to boost the number of air seats as the existing allocation for Malaysian-based airlines has been overwhelmed by a jump in demand. Malaysia has asked Nepal to raise the frequency to 42 flights weekly from the present 21 flights. The talks will take place in Kathmandu. "We have proposed the dates for negotiations and signing the pact, and are in the process of seeking the Cabinet's approval to amend the ASA," said Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Kathmandu-Varanasi direct bus service begins

The Nepali registered ceremonial bus will follow the Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Sunauli-Azamgarh-Varanasi route. The bus would be covering about 600 kms during its journey of about 12 hours. The bus service has been started under the provisions of Motor Vehicle Agreement between Nepal and India during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal during the 19th Saarc Summit in November last year.

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi and Ambassador of India to Nepal Ranjit Rae flagged off the bus service. The flag-off ceremony was conducted from a spot near Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu. The bus service is also likely to have a positive impact on the tourism industry as both Kathmandu and Varanasi are popular tourist destinations," said a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

In the next phase Pokhara-Delhi route would be made operational for which consultation process between the officials of the two governments is already underway, added the statement.

Paro Tshechu
31st March – 4th April 2015
20th – 24th March 2016

Thousands gathered at Paro Rinpung Dzong to witness the first day of Paro Tshechu, The first day of the tshechu, performed inside the Dzong, drew a huge crowd of Bhutanese as well as tourists.

Paro Tshechu is the most colourful and popular events held every spring in the Paro Dzongkhag. This dance festival is a sequence of dances that showcases the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. Tshechu is dedicated to the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan called Guru Rimpoche.

On the first day, devotees witnessed mask dances and also received blessings from the sacred relics. Some of the mask dances performed on the first day were the Shinjey yabyum, Durda, Zhana, Dramedtse Ngachham and Boechham.

Another attraction is the display of a huge silk Thangka, a religious painting that covers the entire face of the building. The Thangka is believed to be the most sacred to obtain blessings and cleanse the sins of the viewers.

Upcoming Rhododendron Festival Thimpu, Bhutan
18th April to 20th April, 2015
Rhododendro Festival witnesses the breathtaking beauty of spring showcasing different blossoms high up the mountains besides migratory birds. The festival is a perfect time to see various varieties of Rhododendron in its full glory especially for the flower lovers.

This annual three day festival celebrates the blossoms at the Lamperi Botanical Garden, 30 Km from the capital city of Thimpu showcasing different rhododendron species with 29 of the total 46 that are grown in Bhutan and are in full bloom by May.

Some of the highlights of the festival are traditional Boedra and Zhungdra songs relating to nature performed by the local community followed by other cultural programmes and educational activities on environment conservation performed by school children.

New wings for Drukair
26-03-2015 to 29-03-2015
Venue: Khatey, Gasa Dzong, Gasa
Aviation: Drukair's newest aircraft, an Airbus A319 costing at least USD 40 million, arrived at Paro International airport.

The aircraft, registered as A5-JSW after the initials of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, is dedicated to him on the occasion of His 60th Birth Anniversary by the national airline.

The King aim is to expand Drukair's fleet to five aircrafts, four of which are A319s and one twin propeller ATR-42.

The arrival of the new A319 comes a little more than 10 years after Drukair last bought one. As a result, the A319 comes equipped with new technology, the most noticeable being a blended winglet that Airbus calls the "sharklet", attached to the tips of the two wings.

Given the enhanced performance of the new A319, it will be used on the airline's longer routes such as to Singapore, and for additional and charter flights.

Drukair will be flying charter flights to the Indian cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai later this year