BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Francisco Hernan Castillo Tamayo, a seasoned Mexican captain of Himalaya Airlines, finds himself in the midst of soaring flight activity as the two flight routes connecting Kathmandu, Nepal, to the Chinese cities of Beijing and Kunming make a resounding comeback in the post-pandemic era.
The bustling summer travel rush is helping Beijing Daxing International Airport further solidify its status as China's "new gateway" as the season has brought an unprecedented surge in flight and passenger numbers. The airport resumed international passenger flights on January 17 this year, following the resumption of international cargo flights in 2022, offering a glimmer of hope to aviation industry players worldwide.
For Tamayo, who was present as flights resumed on that momentous day, the experience was profoundly encouraging.
"I was a part of the crew that day. It was a really motivating moment to be there. Gradually we are increasing our frequencies to Beijing. So we are a lot busier than before," Tamayo said.
Tamayo first set foot in China back in 2008, traversing multiple cities that left an indelible mark of admiration for Chinese culture and cuisine. In 2017, he joined Himalaya Airlines, a joint venture between China and Nepal. In October 2019, direct flight from Beijing to Kathmandu was inaugurated.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have cast a long shadow over the global aviation industry, but Tamayo remains optimistic about the future of China's aviation, economy, and tourism. The gradual resumption and expansion of international flights in China have bolstered his confidence in the nation's ability to rebound robustly.
Nowadays, Tamayo shuttles between the ancient capitals of China and Nepal, reveling in the cultural tapestry they offer. On one trip to Beijing, he was taken aback by the White Pagoda Temple, not just because it is a living testament of over 700 years of history but also because a Nepalese craftsman designed and constructed it.
He believes the most charming thing about Beijing and Kathmandu is their long-standing culture and more tourists traveling between the two places will promote mutual communication and cooperation.
As a strategic node on the Belt and Road, Nepal is a beneficiary of the initiative. Indeed, aside from the initiative's headline infrastructure projects, such as airports and railways, Tamayo notes that communities welcome the job opportunities and new technology that accompany Chinese investment.
The future for Himalaya Airlines looks promising, as it has already reinstated direct flights from Beijing and Kunming to Kathmandu and is charting a course to resume and establish additional direct connections from various Chinese cities to the Nepalese capital.
With a wealth of flight experience under his belt, Tamayo feels privileged to provide more efficient and convenient "air express" services for China and Nepal while confident in China as a fiercely competitive market.
According to the information released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country's civil aviation industry is on track to recover to 2019 levels in the first half of 2023, breathing renewed optimism into the aviation landscape.