Kathmandu, February 12:

The pilots of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) who are known for their expertise in flying in all kinds of conditions in Nepal by the sheer virtue of knowing the landscape like the back of their hand are probably going to see happier times ahead.

For according to NAC sources, the ministry of civil aviation just okayed a higher remuneration package for NAC pilots who had been a disgruntled lot for some time now. At least 10 NAC pilots were reported to have been looking for greener pastures with other airlines. According to insiders, some pilots were planning to join the Orient Thai even as others were toying with the idea of joining airlines in India like the Blue Dart.

NAC which operates on Osaka, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Delhi sectors with its two Boeings has 42 pilots flying on the international sector. 20 of them are captains while the rest are co-pilots. While Raju Bahadur KC, director corporate, NAC, declined to share the exact percentage of hike in the remuneration package, he confessed, “It is a substantial increase” that has been finally approved by the ministry only last Friday. “The pilots have already been intimated about the hike,” he claimed.

Nepal’s national flag carrier which has been in desperate need of restructuring of late, seems to be poised for better days ahead. The average seat occupancy of the airlines, which had plummeted to worrying levels in the recent past, has increased to 73 per cent. NAC’s overdraft with banks and financial institutions has also gone down reasonably, said K C. The airlines’ long standing demand for more aircrafts too is likely to be fulfilled.

Since the delivery of the new aircrafts will take at least two years from the date of placing the order to the date of actual delivery, till then NAC would counter its major problem of aircraft shortage by taking at least one on lease.