Nepal | August 16, 2020

Independence Day 2020

Nepal Airlines Corporation grounds all its Chinese aircraft

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Citing operational loss, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has grounded all its six Chinese aircraft from today. Two aircraft had been already grounded earlier and the remaining four planes were also grounded from today, said Archana Khadka, spokesperson for NAC.

“From now on we will be operating our two Twin Otter aircraft for domestic flights,” she informed, adding, “We have submitted a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to do the needful with the four aircraft that were grounded today.”

The national flag carrier had received one MA60 and one Y12E aircraft on aid from the Chinese government while one MA60 and three Y12E were provided by the Nepal government to NAC. However, as all the six aircraft were not able to make any profit, the corporation’s board decided to ground all the aircraft, Khadka said.

“As the government has the entire ownership of those aircraft we have handed over the responsibility to MoCTCA,” she stated.

“We are now waiting for MoCT- CA’s decision on what to do with these aircraft.”

As per NAC, the insurance cost of the Chinese aircraft is 35 per cent high than other aircraft. Likewise, not all pilots can fly the Chinese aircraft due to which the corporation itself has to train pilots which is a very expensive affair.

Moreover, there is a lack of instructor pilots for these aircraft due to which instruction expenses for these aircraft are costlier than for other aircraft.

Meanwhile, the spare parts of these aircraft are also 75 per cent more expensive than those required in other aircraft and it takes almost two months for the company to deliver the spare parts to Nepal. As a result, the aircraft had remained grounded for a long period.

According to NAC, the corporation has already faced losses amounting to Rs 1.90 billion till last fiscal year. Thus, the national flag carrier cannot afford these aircraft anymore and now the government itself has to decide what to do with these aircraft, Khadka mentioned.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 1, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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