NAC starts procedures to procure two Chinese Aircraft

22nd Sep, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Sep 22: Nepal’s national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has started its procedures to acquire remaining two Chinese aircrafts of the six on order as now as it got pilots to fly them. A team from NAC comprising technicians will be flying off to China to inspect the plane after the Dashain.

In November of 2012, NAC had signed a commercial agreement with AVIC, a Chinese government undertaking, to procure six aircraft -- two 56-seater MA60 and four 17-seater Y12e.

As part of the deal, China provided one MA60 and one Y12e worth Rs2.94 billion as gifts in 2014. The other aircraft were bought with a Rs3.72 billion soft loan provided by China’s EXIM Bank.

NAC put off taking delivery of the rest of the planes for two years following problems, including load restrictions, with the two that had joined its fleet.

Last February, the carrier agreed to receive an MA60 and a Y-12e aircraft after being assured by AVIC that it would provide every help necessary to keep them flying in the Nepali skies.

“We were again forced to stall the process of bringing the remaining two Y12e aircraft due to lack of flight crew,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. “Now, we have prepared the pilots.” He added that it would be at least two months before the planes arrived in Nepal.

According to NAC, it has prepared three senior pilots, seven co-pilots and an instructor pilot for the Y12e aircraft. Kansakar said that after taking delivery of the planes, they would resume flights on remote domestic routes that had been suspended due to lack of aircraft.

“Demand for air seats in the domestic sector has grown several-fold due to the poor state of national highways. So it is a bad idea to keep the planes parked in China.”

The manufacturer completed assembling the Y12e for Nepal in early 2015.

The aircraft have been sitting in the factory hangar since then. The corporation has also asked the Tourism Ministry to settle the final installment of the payment to the aircraft supplier.

The corporation has written to the ministry seeking the Finance Ministry’s approval to release the payment through EXIM Bank.

The aircraft supplier is yet to receive 40 percent of the third installment and the final delivery payment.

Following the arrival of another two Y-12e aircraft, the national flag carrier’s domestic fleet will swell to nine planes including three vintage Twin Otters.