Chinese made Y-12e planes to start flights in Nepal's remote airports for the first time

30th Sep, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Sep 30:Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the national flag carrier of the Himalayan country, is set to start commercial flights of Chinese-made Y-12e planes in the country's remote airports for the first time within the next two weeks, a senior official of NAC said.

The NAC received first Y-12e aircraft from China in July 2014, and it currently has four these planes in its domestic fleet. But, it has not yet started operation in the remote areas, citing some technical issues as well pilot shortage.

After conducting successful test flights in remote airports including Lukla, a gateway to Mt. Everest (or Mt Qomolangma) in eastern region, Jomsom in remote Mustang in western Nepal and Jumla, Dolpa, Simikot and Talcha airports in the country's remote Karnali region in the mid-Western part of the country, the NAC is preparing to start the flights with China-made planes in some of these remote airports.

"We plan to conduct commercial flights in Lukla, Dolpa and Talcha airports before Dashain, the biggest festivals of Nepal which begins in mid-October," Madan Kharel, newly appointed executive chairman of NAC, told Xinhua on Sunday. "Test flights confirmed that these planes could be flown in these locations and we are ready to operate them there."

As these selected airports are also located in the country's important tourism destinations, the NAC officials say that they believe that they can make good earning by conducting fights there. Kharel said that the NAC has been preparing necessary documentation to start commercial flights in the remote airports.

According to another NAC official, the NAC's commercial department is working on how many flights should be arranged in each destination to make the flight commercially viable and profitable.

The Y-12e planes were first brought from China targeting flight to the remote areas. But, they are being operating in truck routes like Simara, Bhairahawa and Pokhara, all accessible locations. Likewise, despite presence of the four Y-12e planes, the NAC has not been able to operate them regularly due to the lack of adequate number of pilots.

But, Kharel said that there is no shortage of pilot for these planes now. "We have now arranged four pilots to operate these Chinese-made planes," he said.