Himalaya Airlines wishes to address the rumors and allegations, as well as clarify that the reports that have been published are false and misconstrued in the absence of proper facts and verification.
According to the airline, the governments of Nepal and Saudi Arabia issued mandatory regulatory guidelines that defined unavoidable fares that included stay-in quarantine facilities and related COVID-19 health facilities. In accordance with the guidelines, our airline launched a bundled fare that included all of the necessary facilities for operating flights in this sector.
Our bundled fare includes the following items: airline base fare, all regulatory taxes, airport to hotel transportation charges, 7 nights hotel room charges (breakfast, lunch, and dinner included), and two PCR tests upon arrival in Dammam.
Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China joint venture airline, has been flying to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, twice a week. Prior to lockdown 2.0, Himalaya Airlines had been operating ten direct flights to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, since September 1, 2017.
With the recent resumption of flights, the number of passengers flying to Damman, Saudi Arabia increased, prompting the airlines to increase the flights to four weekly flights beginning July 11, 2021.
Concerning the current situation, there have been false news reports and allegations spread across digital news platforms, falsely accusing the airlines of airfare cartelization, claiming the airline is charging high air fares for Kathmandu to Dammam flights and the stay-in quarantine facilities mandated by both Saudi Arabia and the Nepal government.
Individual passengers are not permitted to self-quarantine under Saudi Arabian government guidelines and are required to stay in specific quarantine facilities designated by their government. As a result, compared to regular unbundled fares, this has resulted in higher airfare costs. To clarify, the airlines would like to point out that the additional hotel quarantine charges for Dammam contribute 60% of the fare, while the airfare contributes only 40% of the total cost. The airlines have been providing free ticket revalidation for passengers with valid return tickets for any sector, as well as those who were previously unable to fly due to flight suspensions.
The airline wishes to draw the attention of all media outlets and news websites that have been disseminating false information to the public without first obtaining factual confirmation from the relevant 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 ask the general public to be wary of news published by unverified sources and to draw conclusions only after the airlines have validated the facts. We would also like to ask the media to be more cautious and sensitive, publishing only factual news in light of the overall progress of the communication, information, and broadcasting industries, which should always benefit the public, businesses, and the government.