Kathmandu, July 11
The Nepal Airlines Corporation has been facing its worst flight schedule crisis since six of its eight aircraft three plying on international routes and three on domestic were grounded at the same time.
According to NAC Spokesperson Ramhari Sharma, an Airbus 320 and a twin-otter are in operation, while an Airbus, two Boeings, a Modern Ark 60, a Y12e and a twin-otter have been grounded since Saturday.
Officials at NAC’s operations department said NAC operated its Boeing flights to Bangalore, Bangkok, Doha and Kuala Lumpur, while narrow-body Airbus jets often flew to New Delhi, Mumbai and Hong Kong. NAC offers domestic services to a few destinations with its MA 60 and Y12e and two twin-otters.
“NAC has halted its routine flights to Doha, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, while it is facing difficulty in maintaining flights to other international destinations, including India and Hong Kong.”
A Boeing 9N-ACB has been grounded at TIA since Saturday after facing a technical problem in its blowout panel while another ill-fated Boeing 9N–ACA has already been sent to Singapore. An Airbus 320 has been grounded since Thursday after a bird strike.
“NAC is not sure when maintenance of its two Chinese aircraft MA 60 and Y12e will conclude to resume domestic operations,” a director said, adding that another twin-otter has not been operating for over a week due to some technical problem.
“There is no chance of flying the grounded aircraft to international destinations anytime soon,” an engineer told this daily, adding that it would take a couple of days to order spare parts. NAC has been making a daily loss of millions of rupees due to lack of flights, he added.
Lack of coordination among NAC departments and poor management are to blame for the present crisis, a senior pilot told THT. Spokesperson Sharma admitted that neither 9N-ACB nor A320 would resume their flights anytime soon.
Though the NAC’s management is hopeful of getting two new wide-body jets by the end of next fiscal year, operation of such jets, officials claimed, would be more challenging as NAC can’t fly the jets to European destinations, as all Nepali carriers have been banned by the European Commission for significant safety concerns.
A source at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said a group of NAC pilots would be meeting Minister Ananda Prasad Pokharel and Secretary Prem Kumar Rai tomorrow to resolve the crisis facing the national flag carrier.
Seventh flying to HK for repairs
KATHMANDU: The NAC decided on Monday to send its only aircraft flying to international destinations for a regular borescope inspection of its turbines in Hong Kong on Tuesday, according to a highly-place NAC source.
“There will be no international operation once A320 departs for Hong Kong,” an official said, adding flights will resume only after the same aircraft ‘hopefully’ returns to Kathmandu on Wednesday evening.
A version of this article appears in print on July 12, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.