Kathmandu, December 11
The state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has urged the government to introduce a mandatory provision for civil servants to travel abroad for official purposes via Nepal Airlines where its flights are available.
The national flag carrier at present has scheduled flights to eight destinations in six nations, namely New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Doha and Dubai from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu. As thousands of civil servants travel to these destinations every year, a legal provision that makes it compulsory for civil servants to travel abroad via Nepal Airlines will prove crucial for NAC to expand its market, said Madan Kharel, executive chairman of NAC.
“We have repeatedly urged the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to introduce such a provision. It will not only ensure that Nepal Airlines will fly with good seat occupancy in the aforementioned destinations but will also help NAC financially and increase its market share in the international flight segment,” mentioned Kharel.
As NAC today is reeling under immense financial pressure following its inability to operate its two brand new wide-body aircraft in a full-fledged manner, the corporation is planning different ways to increase Nepal Airlines’ business and make it a financially sustained entity.
Though addition of the two wide-body aircraft to NAC’s fleet was expected to enhance the market and business of the national carrier, NAC today is obliged to operate these aircraft at a loss. Due to lack of effective planning, NAC has not been able to fly its wide-body planes to long-haul destinations for which these aircraft are meant and has been flying to short destinations.
Even though Nepal has signed Air Services Agreement (ASA) with 39 nations, Nepal Airlines has been able to fly only to six of these countries. However, Kharel informed that NAC will expand its fleet in the coming days and start flying to more international destinations.
Meanwhile, he claimed that NAC will improve its position gradually. “We are reviewing our business plan. The new business plan will set various targets regarding flight operation of Nepal Airlines and other business targets,” informed Kharel.
Similarly, Kharel also informed that Nepal Airlines will start flying to Japan from February and to China from March next year. NAC has sought aircraft operation permits from the aviation authorities of Japan and China and both the Japanese and Chinese authorities are positive towards giving flight permits to Nepal Airlines in their nations, as per him.
A version of this article appears in print on December 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.