Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways will begin operating daily flights to Nepal from January next year.

The airline currently operates four weekly flights to Kathmandu.

Etihad says it is adding a further three flights because since starting operations to Kathmandu in December 2008 the carrier has recorded an average load of between 80 and 90 per cent on both in-bound and out-bound flights.

Kathmandu has become a popular destination for Middle East airlines. FlyDubai is also adding the city to its network of long-distance destinations starting from this month.

Budget airline Air Arabia also offers daily flights to the city.

In 2008, Air Arabia teamed up with Nepal’s domestic carrier Yeti Airlines to launch FlyYeti which offered domestic services within Nepal.

The airline halted operations later that year due to political uncertainty.