NAC to go Boeing-less for a week

Kathmandu, November 13:

The Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), which has come under severe criticism for inefficiency and ineffectiveness, will once again be without any Boeing for at least a week after December 18.

It has been learnt that the NAC has already closed all ‘fresh bookings’ for a week following December 18, a highly placed NAC official said.

The situation will arise when the Airlines will send its only operational Boeing to Brunei for c-check on December 18. Although the plan is to plant the engine of this aircraft in the other NAC Boeing lying in Brunei, the process will take at least a week.

“We will send our now functional Boeing to Brunei for c-check. The engine of this aircraft will be placed in the aircraft lying in Brunei after c-check,” Nageshwore Rai, spokesperson for the NAC, told this daily.

Rai, however, added that NAC is trying to ‘manage’ a wet lease aircraft to run services during that period. But the decision to that effect has not yet been taken.

Such a decision will also be a difficult one to implement since the NAC pilots are already protesting against it.

NAC Employees’ Coordination Committee has issued an ultimatum to the management threatening to resign en masse if the management did not ensure that both of its jets were brought back into service without further delay.

“We have given a November 16 deadline to the management to brief us as to why such a delay has been caused in bringing both the Boeings into operation” O B Gurung, the coordinator of the Committee said.

The other agenda that the pilots have put forth before the management is related to the mass exodus of Nepali pilots, who are moving abroad or joining private airlines for better pay and facilities.

“We are being victimised because of the short-sightedness of the management, which is doing nothing to retain the pilots,” Gurung further said.

The NAC has time and again brought its operation to a halt. The aircraft were grounded from August 1-10 following technical problems in both the Boeings.

Meanwhile, a 10-member team from the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee led by its chairman Pari Thapa has left for a trip to Malaysia and Singapore to probe into the accusations against the NAC management, including its managing director, of irregularities during its recent decision to overhaul two of its jet engines. The committee members at home, however, say the team left without informing them. “The committee was not informed of such a decision as to why 10 people had to be sent on one investigative mission,” PAC member Dilaram Acharya said.