History

History

Introduction

Buddha Air, a household name in the Nepali aviation sector has become the trademark of trust and safety in 25 years of its service. Our journey had humbly begun on October 11, 1997, with a single aircraft. Today we fly to at least 15 national and international destinations a day with our 17 state-of-art aircraft.  

Today, we conduct more than 100 flights a day being the most trusted domestic airline in Nepal securing the trademark of trust and safety in 25 years of service. In these years of trusted flying, we have flown over 13.6 million passengers. Our market share is currently around 61 percent as we continue to make a profit for the past two decades. 

The Initiators

Among the few aspirant entrepreneurs was Mr. Surendra Bahadur Basnet, the man who came from a humble background but had already made his influence through various senior positions in government jobs. Few of the reputed titles Mr. Basnet has been honored with are Chief Justice at the Supreme Court, Founder Chief Election Commissioner, Minister of Law, Justice, and Education, Minister of Finance Industry, Commerce & Supplies, First Chairman of Press Council, Legal Commissions. 

His elder son, Mr. Birendra Bahadur Basnet, who was always intrigued by entrepreneurship and business was involved in own his export company ‘Arju International’ at that time.

Mr. Shivendra Bahadur Basnet, youngest son of Mr. Surendra Bahadur Basnet returned from Ukraine after completing his training as a helicopter pilot in 1994.

The father-sons trio then realized the need and growing demand for air transport in the mountainous country to be a game-changer. And quickly enough they formally established Buddha Air for once and forever in 1997. Since then, the company is thriving every day under the supervision of Mr. Birendra Bahadur Basnet and the trusted team.

Our Journey

On 11 October 1997, Captain RK Sharma and American Pilot Captain Kevin St. Germain in an unprecedented flight, flew Buddha Air’s first batch of 16 passengers on flight BHA 100 onboard the Beechcraft 1900D. With the call sign 9N-AEE from Kathmandu’s domestic airport, flight BHA 100 took its hour-long flight to Mt Everest and back – an achievement no airlines had done in its maiden flight. This helped to set confidence in Buddha Air in motion and the rest is history.

Farewell to the Beechcraft 1900D: The First Aircraft of Buddha Air 

Buddha Air started its journey with a mountain flight, 25 years ago. This flight was first carried out carrying 16 people onboard a Beechcraft 1900D. After 25 years of operation, the Beechcraft’s journey is coming to an end for the Nepali skies and is heading towards Canada. Today, Buddha Air has over 14 aircraft after 2 Beechcrafts being sold, however, the first-ever aircraft will forever have a place in our hearts.

We are now discontinuing carrying flights with the Beechcraft 1900D. The aircraft is being sold to a Canadian company and will continue to fly there. At the time of its operation, Buddha Air was the only airline in Nepal which was operating brand-new, straight-out-of-the-factory aircrafts. There were two Beechcrafts, and each one cost about US$ 5 million at the time. 

The Beechcraft 1900D was the newer version of its predecessor, Beechcraft 1900C and was commercially commissioned in 1992. It is the only 19 seat aircraft in the world to meet FAA’s stringent turbine engine rotor burst requirement and the FAR23. It has all the modern avionics, instruments and airframe including weather radar and EFIS (semi glass cockpit) that are available in modern jetliners. It has a powerful engine with a service ceiling of 33,000 feet and a single engine performance of 17,500 feet.   

The Beechcraft 1900D, which is the chosen 19-seater aircraft of the American Pilot’s Association, is the same plane which has carried thousands of passengers to their destinations. Many of our passengers have also enjoyed wonderful views of the Himalayas through its windows. Each day, the Beechcraft carried passengers, creating unforgettable experiences and wonderful memories. 

It is also equipped with the state-of-the-art safety devices such as TCAS, GPWS, radar and others. They had very wide seats, which provided much comfort while flying. It also has full pressurization and air conditioning which allow instant optimum cabin temperature. It created remarkably low noise, allowing you to relax and concentrate on the views outside.

The Beechcraft 1900D is a redesign of the earlier 1900C model entered service which features a wing span (over winglets) of 17.67m (58 ft), wing area of 28.8 sq m (310.0sq ft), length of 17.63m (57 ft 10in), and height of 4.72m (15ft 6in) in 1991. It is the last version of the world famous Beechcraft 1900 series used as a regional airliner and corporate transporter. It runs on two 955kW (1280 shp) P&WC PT6A67D turboprops. With a maximum cruising speed of 533 km/h (288kt). The Beechccraft 1900D is capable of long range cruises of up to 2776 km (1498 nm). It can fly with a maximum takeoff weight of 7688kg (17,120lb) and requires two flight crews.

With over 25 years in operation, it has also made a mark on our pilots and flight attendants who have flown with it. The Beechcraft’s first flight was carried out by Captain R.K. Sharma and American pilot Kevin St. Germain. Following them, countless others have carried out the flights. 

One thing to mark about our Beechcraft 1900D is its outstanding quality. Even after 25 years, Buddha Air has constantly conducted safety audits and repair and maintenance. Safety is our utmost priority and we have maintained the same quality with the Beechcraft 1900D aircrafts. We have conducted regular audits, maintenance and inspections of all the parts of the aircraft to ensure that the aircraft is operating smoothly according to the standard global practice. 

The Beechcraft has been well maintained such that in terms of aircraft age, it is still as good as brand new. This statement was also confirmed by the Canadian team who came to inspect the aircraft, who had commented that they did not expect aircrafts to be this well maintained in Nepal. 

As we say our farewells to the aircraft which started it all, we cannot help but feel the bittersweet moments. It is now time to say goodbye to our two Beechcraft as it leaves for Canadian skies. We now look forward to greater heights with our entire ATR aircrafts. 

Beechcraft 1900D Fleet Specification

Aircraft Engine Model Aircraft Reg. No. MSN MTOW Date of Operation Date of Sale
B1900D PWCPT6A-67D 9N-AEE UE-286 17,120 LBS September 30, 1997 Feburary 22, 2023
B1900D PWCPT6A-67D 9N-AEW UE-328 17,120 LBS September 28, 1998 Feburary 22,2023