Kathmandu, June 13
After receiving air transport operating (ATO) licence, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is gearing up to put its grounded China-made Y12e aircraft back in service within two weeks.
After receiving the licence, NAC has started to train two pilots to fly MA-60 and Y12e aeroplanes. “We are conducting this training in Nepal for the very first time,” said NAC Co-spokesperson Nabaraj Koirala, adding, “If everything goes according to plan, we will resume services through Y12e aircraft after two weeks.”
While NAC pilots had to go to China to receive the training, which used to cost $70,000 per pilot, the corporation will now be able to save $55,000 per pilot as the training within the country will be completed at $15,000 per pilot, Koirala informed.
NAC has appointed Ang Nuri Sherpa as the instructor pilot for the training. In the first phase, Sherpa has started to train Captains KB Limbu and Phijonath Nepali. After 20 days of training, both Limbu and Nepali, the senior most captains of NAC, will be able to fly Y12e plane.
Ang Nuri Sherpa is a retired NAC captain, who had left the country for the United States. As per Koirala, he came back to train other pilots after NAC management made such a request to him.
All four of NAC’s Y12e aircraft have been grounded since the last six months due to shortage of qualified pilots. Two trained pilots — Nripendra Bhattarai and Sajaybade Shrestha — have taken leaves, and the NAC has said it has been unable to fly the aircraft due to lack of pilots.
The licence, granted for the first time by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), allows NAC to train pilots to fly China-made MA-60, Y12-e, among other STOL aircraft.
According to Koirala, the corporation obtained the licence last week. He informed that they had
applied for ATO licence in January.
A version of this article appears in print on June 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.