Chopper companies offers tour packages targeting domestic tourists

Kathmandu: Considering the increasing trend of travelling among Nepalese, private sector helicopter service providers have started bringing packages to attract the general public. According to Helicopter Society of Nepal, the helicopter service provider is making it possible to use helicopters not only for emergency purposes but also as a means of entertainment. Thus, chopper companies have come up with attractive packages targeting domestic tourists.
The tourism sector, which has come to a standstill due to coronavirus infection, is on the verge of recovery. Although the airport, which was closed for risk prevention, has reopened after six months, tourist arrivals have stalled and the helicopter business has not been able to thrive due to lack of internal activities.
According to the Helicopter Society of Nepal, there are 34 helicopters of 10 companies in Nepal. Of those, only 12 are in flight, while the remaining 22 helicopters are out of order. Most of these companies have started heli tour packages to survive commercially.
The helicopters in flight include 2/2 of Simrik Air and Prabhu helicopters and 1/1 of Altitude, Heli Everest, Kailash, Mountain, Shree Air, Air Dynasty, Summit and Manang Air are in operation at this moment. Ten companies have at least two to six helicopters. Prabhu has six helicopters and Simrik has five choppers. The remaining eight companies have 23 helicopters, ranging from two to four.
Depending on the tour package during difficult times Helicopter companies have operated tour packages as a means to survive in uncomfortable conditions. Due to the epidemic, the movement of foreign tourists has been stopped and even domestic tourists have not been able to walk freely. In this case, the helicopter companies have started bringing packages to sustain the business by attracting domestic tourists.
The airline companies says that it has to operate cheap tour packages to sustain the company and reduce the debt burden of the bank and to keep the internal activities running. According to the operators, they are forced to run a cheap tour package to cover the operating expenses as there is a problem in paying the salaries of the employees.
Heli Everest has made 15 packages for various destinations from Kathmandu. There are two-way heli tours from Kathmandu to Gosainkunda, Manakamana, Langtang, Kanjin Gumba, Helambu, Dhunche, Chumbhyali, Sauraha, Lumbini, Chitwan, Nagarkot, Chandragiri and Dakshinkali.
There is a lot of interest in the tour packages for Gosaikunda, there is a package of Rs 19,000 per person for mixed passengers in case of coming from the same family or PCR check.
The most expensive of such packages is Rs 250,000 from Kathmandu to Chum Valley and up to Rs 320,000 from Lumbini. The cheapest package is a heli tour from Kathmandu Airport to Dakshinkali, Chandragiri and Nagarkot. According to Kandel, Rs 10,000 per person has been earmarked for transportation to and from these destinations. 
According to the helicopter companies, the demand for Gosainkunda, Langtang, Chandragiri and Nagarkot has also increased. Employees working in corporate houses, university professors and young people with their own income have started showing interest in such packages.
After Simrik Air has launched the tour package four years ago, other helicopters have also started to be attracted to it. Simrik has brought a package of Rs 20,000 per person from Shivpuri for Gosainkunda Tour. According to Simrik Air, only one person was allowed to take the package till last year, but this year, due to the corona epidemic, only one family member can take the package. 
The promotion of destinations including Gosainkunda has become easier as packages have come to make it accessible to Nepalis and others have also started offering heli tour services.
Simrik has been operating heli tour packages from Kathmandu to Pathibhara, Dharan to Bhedetar and Pokhara to Muktinath. The airline has been rescuing Corona patients from two of its five helicopters, while the other three helicopters are on standby for emergency rescue packages.
Prabhu Helicopters, which is providing service from six helicopters, has been operating a tour package to Gosainkunda since last year. According to Prabhu Helicopters, it is conducting two Gosainkunda helicopter tours daily.