Kathmandu, May 17
Himalaya Airlines has decided to lease out one of its Airbus A320-214 series narrow-body aircraft to a Vietnamese airline company.
Earlier, the airline company had decided to lease out the aircraft to Salam Air of Oman. However, during the final discussions, Salam Air refused to acquire the aircraft on lease. Thus, Himalaya Airlines has decided to least out its aircraft to Bamboo Airways of Vietnam for one year.
Bamboo Airways is currently operating commercial flights to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
According to Bijay Shrestha, vice president of Himalaya Airlines, the Vietnamese airline company will take delivery of the aircraft within a few days. “All procedures related to the leasing of the aircraft have been completed. Now we are waiting for them to come and take the aircraft,” he added.
According to Shrestha, Himalaya Airlines had sought permission from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) — the aviation sector regulator — to lease out two aircraft. However, CAAN refused to accept the proposal.
As per CAAN’s rules and regulations, an airline company must have a minimum of two aircraft for the company to be in operation. Thus, the airline is leasing out only one aircraft, Shrestha added. The company has three Airbus A320-214 series narrow-body aircraft.
As per a source at Himalaya Airlines, the company is currently facing a loss of around Rs seven billion. After not being able to fully operate its aircraft, the company was compelled to lease out its aircraft.
Meanwhile, Himalaya Airlines still has to clear dues worth Rs 200 million to the Civil Aviation Office at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
Although TIA has been frequently asking Himalaya Airlines to clear its dues, the airline company has not been able to do so. According to TIA, Himalaya Airlines has made a commitment to clear its dues in instalments after receiving payment from Bamboo Airways.
The airline company, however, has not yet disclosed the lease amount signed in the agreement with Bamboo Airways.
Himalaya Airlines has 51 per cent share of Yeti World Investment and 49 per cent share of Tibet Airlines. Established in August 2014, the company has been operating commercial flights to Dammam, Doha, Dubai, and Kuala Lumpur and has recently started operating flights to Abu Dhabi as well.
A version of this article appears in print on May 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.