Nepal | November 27, 2020

NAC plan to fly to Japan hits turbulence

Umesh Poudel
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NAC has been asked to resubmit the documents that were submitted earlier

Kathmandu, March 6

Nepal Airlines Corporation’s plan to start direct flight to Narita International Airport in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo is likely to be delayed further, as Japanese aviation authority is not satisfied with documents submitted earlier by the national flag carrier.

Amidst this, some brokers in Japan, including Nepalis, are allegedly pushing NAC to start flights to Osaka rather than Tokyo, which, according to officials, has deepened the problem.

Earlier, a team from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau had visited Nepal to inspect NAC’s overall operation. The team had also met officials of Tribhuvan International Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

During that visit, the team had sought NAC’s previous flight audit reports, aircraft operator certificates, operation specification, flight documentation, aircraft inspection report, flight safety programme and details of cabin crew training, among others. NAC had submitted all the documents.

“Later we were told that the Japanese team was happy with safety measures taken by NAC,” said Suresh Acharya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

This remark was taken as a green signal from the Japanese authority to start flights to Japan. NAC had then said it would start flying to Tokyo from the end of this month.

“But now the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau has asked NAC to resubmit the documents that were submitted earlier,” said a senior MoCTCA official without elaborating and on condition of anonymity.

Recently, Cathay Kansai Terminal Service, the Japanese ground handling firm with which NAC had earlier reached agreement for ground handling service, also wrote to NAC expressing its inability to provide ground handling service to NAC citing lack of human resources.

All these developments are expected to delay the process of starting flights to Tokyo, the source said.

“We will soon hold a meeting with senior officials of the ministry to resolve this problem,” said NAC Executive Chairman Madan Kharel.

While these developments are taking place, middlemen in Japan, including Nepalis, are relentlessly pushing NAC to ditch its plan to fly to Narita airport in Tokyo and start flights to Osaka International Airport, the MoCTCA source claimed. If the brokers succeed in their endeavour, NAC’s Japan operation may not be as profitable as it was previously. Tokyo could generate more business for the national flag carrier than Osaka.

NAC has been trying to fly to new destinations since it purchased two wide body aircraft eight months ago. But it is struggling to get permits from countries such as South Korea and China.


A version of this article appears in print on March 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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