NAC honchos on foreign trips though six aircraft grounded

KATHMANDU: At the time six out of its eight aircraft were grounded, the Nepal Airlines Corporation's top officials, including Managing Director and three department heads, were on foreign trips, it has been revealed.

Managing Director Sugat Ratna Kansakar, who apparently is in a mission to purchase Airbus 330 neglecting other operational aircraft, was in Europe tour when the state-owned national flag carrier faced the worst flight schedule crisis in its history as six aircraft – three each plying on international and domestic routes – were grounded last week.

Engineering Director KB Thapa and four other senior engineers flew to Doha for training despite a acute crisis of trained hands to repair Nepal Airlines Corporation's ill-fated aircraft in their department, according to a source at NAC.

Marketing task of the Nepal Airlines Corporation has also been worst affected after the marketing chief, Janak Raj Kalakheti, went to Kuala Lumpur for a private visit, another source revealed.

Likewise, the flight operations department chief, Captain Subash Rijal, along with fellow Captain Vijay Lama, also flew to Singapore for refresher simulation course.

According to sources, all departments at the NAC lack coordination and poor management has demoralised the staff members.

NAC senior engineers are also having a ball by wasting their working hours to enjoy layovers, a senior captain blamed.

“Borescope inspection is being done in one aircraft [Airbus] in Kathmandu, but another Airbus flew to Hong Kong for borescope too,” NAC’s director Achyut Raj Pahadi wrote on his Facebook.

Pahadi’s post manifests how mismanagement has hit the NAC hard for long, according to an aviation expert. “The management has also lacked accountability and responsibility,” he commented.

NAC’s Spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma confirmed that the NAC honchos were currently out of country. He, however, informed that the Managing Director, Kansakar, was arriving this evening after attending an air show in UK.

“All went on their pre-scheduled foreign visits," Sharma claimed, "And their absence has not caused had any significant impact on the day-to-day functioning.”

Now three in operation

The Nepal Airlines Corporation's spokesperson informed three aircraft -- an Airbus 320, a Boeing and a twin-otter -- are in operation for a week.

An Airbus, a Boeing, a Modern Ark 60, an Y12e and a twin-otter, however, remain grounded.

NAC operates its Boeing flights to Bangalore, Bangkok, Doha and Kuala Lumpur while narrow-body Airbus jets often fly to New Delhi, Mumbai and Hong Kong.

NAC offers domestic services to a few destinations with its MA 60 and Y12e, both granted by China and two twin-otters.