KATHMANDU: Tourism entrepreneurs have hailed Nepal Airlines Corporation’s

(NAC) decision to purchase new aircraft.

Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) president Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey, Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agencies (NATTA) president Ram Kaji Koney, Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN) first vice-president Bacchu Narayan Shrestha, PATA Nepal Chapter president Pawan Tuladhar, Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) president Bikram Neupane, Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) vice-president Ashok Pokharel and Tourist Guide Association of Nepal president Vishnu Gyawali today in a press statement hailed NAC’s decision to purchase new aircraft A320-200 by next year.

“The national flag carrier’s decision before the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 will help the tourism

sector,” they said.

A meeting of NAC´s executive committee recently decided to buy two aircraft — a wide body A330-200 with a seat capacity of 279 and a narrow body A320-200 with 150 seat capacity — from the European manufacturer Airbus. The committee — headed by NAC chairman Sugat Ratna Kansakar — has finalised one plane in the A320-200 series and another in the A330-200 series. The estimated cost of the aircraft comes to around $41.289 million and $92.845 million.

NAC had called for tenders on April 7 and after going through the proposals it found the proposal of Airbus more profitable, said NAC

officials adding that it is operating two Boeing 757s. Apart from Airbus, Boeing also had submitted a proposal.

The operating cost of the Airbus A330-200 comes to around 40 per cent less than the wide-body Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 that the American company had proposed to NAC.