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Lack of instructor pilots hinders operations

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 6, 2017-The House Public Accounts Committee has asked Nepal Airlines to explain why it has not been flying its Chinese-made Y12e aircraft to mountain airfields. 

The 17-seater Y12e was brought to serve mountain airfields, but it is currently serving the Pokhara, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Simara routes even though flying small aircraft on these sectors is not financially feasible.

The tourism minister told lawmakers that the Y12e has not been flown to remote mountain airfields due to lack of instructor pilots. “However, the issue will be resolved soon.”  

The first Y12e arrived in Kathmandu in 2014 and was intended to serve remote mountain airfields like Lukla, Jomsom, Manang, Simikot, Rara, Jumla and Dolpa. But its regulatory limit meant that it could only fly to airports with a maximum grade of up to 2 percent or about 1.2 degrees of slope.

Most of the short take-off and landing (STOL) airfields in Nepal including Lukla in Khumbu are above the regulatory limit. According to the performance analysis report of the Y12e aircraft submitted to the Tourism Ministry in 2015, it flies well in very cold weather, with performance falling with a rise in temperature and altitude.

The Y12e can carry 16 passengers in all-weather conditions from Lukla to Kathmandu; but from Kathmandu to Lukla, the passenger load has to be reduced to 13, according to the report.

The Y12e is totally unsuitable for the Pokhara-Manang sector, according to the report. The aircraft can carry 12 passengers in all-weather conditions from Biratnagar to Taplejung. Likewise, on the Jomsom-Pokhara route, it can fly with 16 passengers in all-weather conditions; but on the return flight, the passenger load has to be reduced to 14, the report said. (PR)

Published: 06-03-2017 09:42

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