NAC's Annapurna receives AOC from CAAN

Kathmandu, July 30

The first-ever long-range aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation - Airbus A330-200 wide-body plane that has been christened ‘Annapurna' with call sign 9N ALY - has finally got the air operator's certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

The national flag carrier had earlier set a target to start operating the 274-seater Annapurna to Doha from August 1. However, it still has to receive AOC from the civil aviation authority of Qatar. For every new aircraft, the civil aviation authority of the respective country also has to grant AOC to the concerned aircraft.

According to Rajan Pokharel, deputy director general of CAAN, the authority granted the AOC for Annapurna on July 29. “We have studied and completed certain procedures as per the aircraft's specifications and other general specifications and granted the AOC,” he added.

Earlier, the Annapurna had successfully conducted the proving flight to Delhi from Tribhuvan International Airport on July 23. The flight departed for Delhi under the command of Nepali and foreign crew members - Captain Srawan Rijal, Captain Francois Fernrt and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Antonie Gaignard - including CAAN officials.

The proving flight is a process of test flight done in the presence of CAAN officials to prove that the new aircraft is able to perform as per the specifications sent by the manufacturing company, which in this case is Airbus.

According to Rabindra Shrestha, spokesperson for NAC, the Annapurna will be flown by the aforementioned crew members for the time being. “The foreign crew members were sent by AAR Corporation, the company that sold the aircraft,” he said. “They will be here for three months and train other pilots of NAC.”

The national flag carrier had signed an agreement with AAR Corporation to buy two Airbus 330-200 series wide-body aircraft worth $209.6 million. AAR Corporation has provided the aircraft to NAC in partnership with German Capital and Hi-Fly Airlines.

This is the first time since its establishment that NAC will be operating two 274-seater wide-body planes. Currently, NAC is conducting international flights through two narrow-body Airbus aircraft and one Boeing 757.