Kathmandu, October 5
Altitude Air will soon launch commercial operation of its first Airbus chopper in Nepal.
According to Nima Nuru Sherpa, managing director of the company, the six-seater AS 350 (H125) B3E chopper has successfully conducted its test flight to Manakamana from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Monday. With an impressive cargo-swing load capacity, the chopper is also renowned globally for high altitude search and rescue work, Sherpa informed.
“The commercial flight will commence in a day or two after we get the air operators’ certificate (AOC) from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.”
The single-engine chopper was assembled at a hangar of Buddha Air at TIA by two Italian engineers from Airbus. The company purchased the chopper from Airbus at around Rs 260 million and all paper works to obtain AOC have been completed.
“Also, we plan to buy three more choppers within a year,” informed Sherpa, adding the company would add more helicopters manufactured by Augusta, an Italian chopper manufacturer, in the future.
The board of directors includes company’s Chairman Lakpa Sonam Sherpa (Thamserku Trekking), Managing Director Nima Nuru Sherpa (Cho-Oyu Treks), Vice-chairman Furba Gyaljen Sherpa (Himalayan Sherpa Adventure), Jiban Ghimire (Shangri-La Nepal Treks) and Ram Prasad Sapkota (Himalayan Social Journey Treks). The tourism entrepreneurs also plan to invest around Rs one billion to ensure quality service, according to Sherpa.
There are seven more helicopter companies operating in the country.
As per Airbus, the H125 series is currently in service worldwide, and is mainly used for high-performance missions in high and hot conditions. “The H125 is a member of Airbus Helicopters’ rugged and proven Ecureuil family and some 6,000 Ecureuils have been delivered in nearly 120 countries for some 1,800 operators,” the company said.
A version of this article appears in print on October 06, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.