Nepal | July 04, 2020

Govt panel to submit report on Chinese planes soon

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, August 31
The government is preparing to take a decision on whether or not to procure additional Chinese aircraft and what to do with two planes already bought in the near future, considering the poor performance of the Chinese aircraft bought by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC). A government panel formed to study the aircraft issues and recommend solutions is expected to submit its report within two weeks.

The committee led by Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, had earlier targeted to complete the assigned task by August. However, as per the committee members, they are yet to hold talks with the Chinese team which is being invited by NAC.

“We have been told that NAC has invited a Chinese team and we are waiting for them,” said Acharya. After the Chinese planes created number of problems in NAC’s operation, the government had formed the committee to come up with recommendations on what to do with the two aircraft — MA60 and Y12e — and whether or not to take the delivery of four other aircraft — a MA60 and three Y12e.

Irate with poor performance of the China-made planes, NAC had written to the civil aviation ministry in January stating that it would be forced to return the two planes and cancel the order for remaining four aircraft, if China fails to address the issues.

According to NAC, Chinese teams have already visited Nepal twice and held discussions on the aircraft problems with the officials of the civil aviation ministry, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and NAC.

“A Chinese team is supposed to visit Nepal and submit reports on performance tests and technical analysis of both type of aircraft by first half of September,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. He added that on the basis the reports to be provided by the Chinese team, the government committee is likely to reach a decision regarding the Chinese aircraft within next two weeks.

Load restriction during landing and take-off, expensive spare parts and high insurance premium are some of the major problems facing NAC after receiving the two aircraft as grant in November last year. MA60 hand landed in Nepal in April and Y12e in November last year. Procurement of the remaining four aircraft has been planned under the soft loan support from the northern neighbour.

While scanning over the decision to buy the Chinese planes and procurement process, the government committee had also found that the technical team of NAC recommended purchase of MA60 and certified the plane to be suitable for Nepali sky. In reality, the 56-seater aircraft can take off with 54 passengers from Tribhuvan International Airport, but while returning to TIA from smaller airports of the country, the aircraft needs to cut the number of passengers to around 35.

A version of this article appears in print on September 01, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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