Govt willing to help RNAC: Minister

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 7:

Tourism minister today urged the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) management and board members to focus on improving and restructuring the national carrier.

He emphasised the need to procure aircraft for regional and domestic service to revive the airline and to make proposals to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation for its enhancement. “We are willing to help the RNAC but for that, we need concrete proposals from the management,” said Tourism Minister Deep Kumar Upadhayay pointing out that the ministry hasn’t received any proposals from RNAC as yet. He made this comment at the forth general meet of RNAC Employees Association today. He further assured the corporation that the government is open to make any positive changes for the benefit of the ailing airline. However, the need of the hour for RNAC is to aggressively move ahead, he added. “The International Civil Aviation Authority’s property evaluation team’s report has recommended a structural change of RNAC and staff cut down, purchase of at least two aircraft to operate in the region. However, their recommendations have not been implemented yet,” said Tourism Secretary Bhoj Raj Ghimire.

He further suggested RNAC authorities to increase flight frequency in popular domestic and international routes and cut down or close operation in non-performing sectors. The government’s role in RNAC is that of a shareholder and therefore its recommendations and suggestions should not be mistaken for political interference, he said. He further warned that the corporation will cease to exist if it continues its trend of failing to implement the Board’s directives.

However, Krishna Bahadur Poudel, acting Managing Director of RNAC, said it is impossible to enhance RNAC with a mere “wishful thinking.” Pointing out the need to purchase more aircraft, he said it is impossible for RNAC to sustain itself and clear its loans with its fleet of two Boeings.