Kathmandu, August 5
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is preparing to form a task force to study the problems plaguing Nepal Airlines Corporation.
In an exclusive interview with The Himalayan Times today, the newly-appointed Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai revealed plans for a task force that would conduct an overall study regarding the weaknesses and strengths of NAC, so that he could plan the course for betterment of NAC.
“As various studies have already been conducted on the status of NAC, the task force will thoroughly examine previous studies and identify core problems,” Minister Bhattarai said. According to him, the task force will be given one month to go through previous studies and submit its conclusions.
“Based on that study, we will plan operational modality of NAC and decide on other actions to make NAC independent,” he said. The government cannot continue to provide financial support to NAC, except during crucial times, he added. “Although the government will assume immediate responsibility of NAC, as it is straddled with a huge debt, NAC has to come up with a long-term vision to expand its business and become financially stable.”
Bhattarai, however, expressed optimism that even though it seemed difficult, the national flag carrier would be able to make a turnaround and fly out of the turbulence it was facing.
NAC is gearing up to start operating flights to Osaka, Japan, from August 29. It has also announced that it will be operating chartered flights to Narita as a marketing gimmick. Plans are also afoot to operate flights to China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
NAC is reeling under a huge debt because of its recently procured wide-body aircraft. NAC is still to pay back the loan it had taken to purchase the two Airbus aircraft. Moreover, due to lack of international destinations, the wide-body aircraft are operating below their full capacity.
NAC has not even been able to operate its domestic flights in a full-fledged manner due to lack of sufficient human resources.
A version of this article appears in print on August 06, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.