Nepal Airlines (RA, Kathmandu) was forced to delay the launch of its services from Kathmandu to Osaka Kansai from February 2019 to at least late March due to the safety checks required by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), The Kathmandu Post has reported.

"We are not sure how long the safety checking process will take, but we are all ready to start service," Executive Chairman Madan Kharel said.

The checks itself are a routine procedure before the JCAB can approve a foreign airline for operations to Japan.

Nepal Airlines has been included on the European Union airline blacklist for the past five years. The list also includes all other Nepali airlines and, as such, bans any of them from operating services to the EU. Japan does not, however, follow the European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) rules.

Kharel underlined that the airline has already completed all other preparations, such as securing ground handling contracts at Osaka.

Nepal Airlines last flew to Japan in 2007, operating via Shanghai Pudong to Osaka.

Currently, the carrier's international network includes destinations in India, Qatar, the UAE, Hongkong, Thailand, and Malaysia.