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Yeti Airlines gives wings to centenarian's flying dream

  106-year-old man enjoys maiden aeroplane ride to Kathmandu

THT

Bote Rai, 106, (left) and his nephew Man Bahadur Rai, 74, aboard a Yeti Airlines flight after the plane landed at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: When a 106-year-old man from Dhankuta said a few days ago that his lifetime wish was to fly on an aeroplane, many thought he was indulging in a flight of fancy.

But it was not so. Dreams do come true sometimes.

Yeti Airlines thought about giving wings to Bote Rai’s flying wishes and today Rai was aboard one of Yeti Airlines planes to fly from Biratnagar to Kathmandu. The 35-minute journey through the sky was a lifetime experience for the rustic elderly from eastern Nepal.

“Ramailo bhayo, ramailo bhayo,” Rai said as he flashed a smile for cameramen who jostled to capture the 106-year-old man who enjoyed his maiden flight at the fag end of his life.

Yeti Airlines extended its generosity to Rai and his 74-year-old nephew Man Bahadur Rai, who also experienced his maiden flight, after it came to know about his wish to fly through a story that The Himalayan Times ran on its Monday’s edition.

When asked if he wanted to fly again, Rai, with face covered with wrinkles and white little beard and a moustache, who can hardly speak and needs support to walk, quipped, “No, it’s enough.”

“Were you scared?”

“No,” he said.

Rai was once husband of three wives and is father of 12 children but currently lives in Dhankuta with his nephew Man Bahadur. A social organisation was there to meet him some days ago when he had requested if he could fly on an aeroplane.

Yeti Airlines said it was putting Rai up for the night at Gaushala-based Hotel Indreni before flying him back to Biratnagar tomorrow. During his stay in Kathmandu, he will be taken to Pashupatinath Temple as well.

Bhim Raj Rai, airport services manager of Yeti Airlines, told journalists that the company attaches equal importance to social responsibility, as part of which it came forward to give Rai a whole new experience in life.

Before boarding the plane in Biratngar, an excited Rai was too curious to know where the plane was. “Where is the plane?” he was wondering.

Rai had boarded the Yeti Airlines plane in Biratnagar at 3:30pm. “I don’t know where all I will go after reaching Kathmandu. My eyesight is poor, I cannot hear properly as well,” he had said.

“I will go to the places where those who have arranged this trip for me take me,” he added.

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