Kathmandu, December 10

A sub-panel of the Parliamentary International Relations Committee today started its investigation of the controversial procurement, ownership and operation of two wide-body aircraft brought by Nepal Airlines Corporation.

The sub-panel coordinator and Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Deepak Prakash Bhatta said the committee had started its work. The five-member sub-panel will submit its report to the full panel within a month.

Coordinator Bhatta said that they would investigate the whole process of aircraft procurement. He also said the sub-panel would investigate and come up with a report. “If necessary the panel would coordinate with other parliamentary committees,” he added.

The full committee has already discussed the controversial procurement of the aircraft with Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota and Nepal Airlines Corporation Managing Director Sugat Ratna Kansakar and asked them to furnish documents related to the procurement.

The first wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft was added to NAC’s fleet on June 28 while the corporation acquired the second long-haul aircraft on July 26. After procuring these big aircraft, costing almost Rs 24 billion, NAC intended to fly to long-range destinations including Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia.

However, NAC’s failure to do so has raised many eyebrows. NAC has been operating the two wide-body aircraft at a huge loss. In fact, the corporation has made earnings worth Rs 264 million through the operation of the wide-body planes between August 1 and September 15, while it has incurred expenditure of Rs 756 million for their operation in the said period.