Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China joint venture airline, has been operating two weekly flights to Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Prior to lockdown 2.0, Himalaya Airlines had been offering 10 direct flights to Dammam in Saudi Arabia since 1st of September, 2017. With the recent resumption of the flights, the flow of passengers flying to Damman, Saudi Arabia surged for which the airlines increased the flights to four weekly flights effective from 11th July 2021.
With regards to the current situation, there have been misleading news reports and allegations across the digital news platforms, falsely accusing the airlines with airfare cartelization claiming the airline is charging high air fares for Kathmandu to Dammam flights and the stay-in quarantine facilities which was mandated by Saudi Arabia as well as Nepal government.
Himalaya Airlines wants to address the rumors and allegations and clarify the reports that were published are baseless and misconstrued without proper facts and verification. The Government of Nepal and Saudi Arabia had published mandatory regulatory guidelines which defined unavoidable fare inclusive of stay-in quarantine facilities and related COVID-19 health facilities. In compliance with the guidelines, our airline launched a bundled fare with all the essential facilities to operate flights in this sector. Our bundled fare includes: airline base fare, all regulatory taxes, airport to hotel transport charges, 7 nights hotel room charges, (breakfast, lunch, dinner included) and 2 PCR tests on arrival at Dammam.
As per the Saudi Arabian government guidelines, individual passengers are not allowed to self-quarantine and are mandated to stay in specific quarantine facilities allocated by their government. Hence, this has led to expensive airfare costs compared to the regular unbundled fares. For further clarification, the airlines would like to mention that the additional hotel quarantine charges for Dammam contributes 60% of the fare while the airfare contributes to only 40% of the total cost. The airlines has been ensuring free revalidation of tickets for passengers with valid return tickets for any sector and also for those who were previously unable to fly due to the flight suspensions.
The airline wants to draw the attention of all the media agencies and news portals that have been publishing false information amongst the public without prior verification of facts from the concerned stakeholders. There has been a growing tide of false news and propaganda being spread across social media and news portals regarding the situation and the airlines would like to request the general public to be wary of news published by the unverified sources and conclude only after validating the facts by the Airlines. We would also like to request the media industry to be more cautious and sensitive and publish only factual news considering the overall progress of the communication, information and broadcasting industry, which should at all times benefit the public, companies and the Government.