Nepal Airlines plans to increase fleet

KATHMANDU: Kripasur Sherpa, the minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, has assured full support to Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to gather required resources to add new aircraft, including wide-body planes.

The assurance from Sherpa has come when debt-ridden NAC is finding it hard to get resources to add wide-body aircraft and additional narrow-body planes.

Addressing a programme at NAC on Monday, Sherpa underlined the need of immediately starting the process to buy wide-body planes and expanding NAC’s service to new sectors.

Sherpa said that the corporation must also focus on preparing technical workforce when thinking of service expansion. The national flag carrier for long has been facing crunch of pilots and engineers. It has been forced to limit flights of newly acquired Airbus A-320 aircraft due to shortage of pilots.

Currently, NAC is operating its international services using two Boeing 757s and two Airbus A-320. It is competing with 26 international carriers flying to and from Nepal. As for domestic service, it has a Twin Otter, an MA60 and a Y12e.

Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC, highlighting NAC’s 10-year strategic plan, said that they have a plan to add two wide-body and five narrow-body planes. He added that NAC was committed to add new planes and skilled workforce to re-claim its past glory.

Chairman of NAC Board Shiva Sharan Neupane said together with the government’s support, NAC would make great contribution in reviving the tourism sector that has been badly affected by the April 25 quake. As per him, narrow-body planes are good for short distance sectors, but wide-body is a must for long-haul flights.