Two new aircraft soon to beef up NAC: Yami

Kathmandu, October 12:

The government is committed to buying at least two aircraft for the ailing national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC). “As an immediate solution, however, we are leasing two aircraft,” Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Hisila Yami said during an interaction today at Reporters’ Club here.

“The government will buy at least two aircraft for NAC after the suggestion committee submits

its report on October 21,” she said adding that the decision to buy two more planes would be taken within three months.

Meanwhile, the government is yet to decide whether to buy Boeing or Airbus. Every time, the government decision to buy aircraft has generated controversy.

“This time, it will be transparent and there will be no controversy,” Yami assured and added that the government was concerned about the development of tourism sector.

“The government has also formulated a new policy of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and allocated Rs 280 million for the development of tourism infrastructure,” she pointed out.

According to Yami, the number of tourist arrivals is increasing at a rate of 20 to 30 per cent per day, and NAC needs at least four Boeings. She said the government was also planning to mark the year 2011 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’ and draw at least one million tourists.

Yami also said that the government was preparing a new tourism policy that would focus on promotion of rural tourism and identification and promotion of new tourist destinations.

“Tourism industry can have a multiple effect on the country’s economy,” said president of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey.

“A single tourist provides direct or indirect employment to nine persons. As such, it may well be called the backbone of our economy. Therefore, Visit Nepal Year must be taken seriously as a national project,” he said and added that the number of aircraft should be increase to minimize air congestion.