Kathmandu, March 20
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has started cutting down on the number of its staffers after flight operations started getting reduced due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A meeting of the NAC management team held on Thursday has decided to send its staffers on unpaid leave for a limited period of time.
According to Deepu Jwarchan, flight operation director of NAC, the corporation has asked five Nepali pilots to stay on 10-day unpaid leave and 11 foreign pilots on two-week unpaid leave. The pilots include both who fly narrow-body and wide-body aircraft and were employed with the corporation on contract basis. “Likewise, 150 crew members, working on contract basis, have also been given unpaid leave until further notice,” he said.
Meanwhile, NAC has also laid off employees who had been outsourced and those working at the ground handling division at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The number of flights that NAC is operating has dropped significantly and currently very less number of international and domestic flights are being operated due to the coronavirus.
Due to these circumstances, the corporation has taken a decision to cut the number of staffers, Jwarchan added.
Among the nine international destinations, NAC has suspended flight operations to seven destinations so far.
Issuing a new notice today, NAC has also announced to halt its regular flights to and from India’s New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore starting from March 22.
Meanwhile, addressing the nation today, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli announced a ban on all international flights to Nepal starting from Sunday (March 22) till March 31. Along with this NAC’s last flights to Hong Kong and Bangkok will be operated till Saturday only.
Passengers who have booked their tickets can contact their agency or NAC for a full refund, notice added.
A version of this article appears in print on March 21, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.