NAC announces vacancy for 47 pilots, co-pilots

Kathmandu, February 14

Less than a month after 25 pilots of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) had resigned en masse citing discrimination in remuneration and benefits, the corporation has announced vacancy for pilots and co-pilots.

The vacancy announcement today has called for applications for 20 senior captains, 14 junior captains and 13 senior co-pilots.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Archana Khadka, spokesperson for NAC, however claimed that the vacancy announcement for new pilots was a regular process. “This vacancy announcement has nothing to do with the resignation of our pilots,” she said.

“We are also looking to hire other staffers, hence, this is an annual vacancy announcement of the corporation.”

Altogether 25 senior permanent NAC pilots had tendered their resignation on January 17.

They had mentioned that the remuneration offered by NAC to its pilots is very less compared to any private domestic or international airline in Nepal. “Despite this fact, and without any notice, NAC management is deducting a certain amount from our monthly salary besides applicable taxes in the name of ‘staff advances’,” they had stated in their letter.

A high-level source at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, seeking anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter, informed that the pilots also wanted to put pressure on the then executive chairperson of NAC Madan Kharel to step down. “The group of pilots that resigned was actually not happy with Kharel being appointed to the top post,” claimed the source, adding that politicisation within the corporation was the prime reason for its weak financial health.

While the pilots had not mentioned any reservation against Kharel per se in their resignation letter, the latter had resigned from his post on January 19. In his resignation letter, Kharel had mentioned he was stepping down as he was travelling abroad for personal reasons and would be unable to continue his duty.

According to Khadka, the resignation submitted by the senior pilots was just a ploy to grab the attention of the management.

“And management has taken their issues very seriously and we are trying to sort it out as soon as possible.”

As the pilots had expressed their dissatisfaction regarding wages and tax issues, NAC is holding discussions with stakeholders to find a way out, she added.

Lack of human resources is a perennial challenge facing the NAC. Because of this, its flights are regularly affected.

Issuing a white paper in November of 2018, NAC had reported that it only had 84 pilots and co-pilots, while it actually requires a total of 143 pilots and co-pilots. Then in July, NAC had made a vacancy announcement for 50 pilots.

While the response was only lukewarm, even the candidates that had applied did not meet the requirement of NAC.