NAC moves to bring two Chinese aircraft

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 22, 2017-

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has begun work to bring the remaining two Chinese aircraft of the six on order as now it has pilots to fly them. A NAC technical team is scheduled to leave for China after the Dashain festival to inspect the planes. 

In November 2012, NAC had signed a commercial agreement with AVIC, a Chinese government undertaking, to procure six aircraft -- two 56-seater MA60 and four 17-seater Y12e. 

As part of the deal, China provided one MA60 and one Y12e worth Rs2.94 billion as gifts in 2014. The other aircraft were bought with a Rs3.72 billion soft loan provided by China’s EXIM Bank. 

NAC put off taking delivery of the rest of the planes for two years following problems, including load restrictions, with the two that had joined its fleet. 

Last February, the carrier agreed to receive an MA60 and a Y-12e aircraft after being assured by AVIC that it would provide every help necessary to keep them flying in the Nepali skies. 

“We were again forced to stall the process of bringing the remaining two Y12e aircraft due to lack of flight crew,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. “Now, we have prepared the pilots.” He added that it would be at least two months before the planes arrived in Nepal. 

According to NAC, it has prepared three senior pilots, seven co-pilots and an 

instructor pilot for the Y12e aircraft. Kansakar said that after taking delivery of the planes, they would resume flights on remote domestic routes that had been suspended due to lack of aircraft. 

“Demand for air seats in the domestic sector has grown several-fold due to the poor state of national highways. So it is a bad idea to keep the planes parked in China.”  

The manufacturer completed assembling the Y12e for Nepal in early 2015. 

The aircraft have been sitting in the factory hangar since then.

The corporation has also asked the Tourism Ministry to settle the final installment of the payment to the aircraft supplier. 

The corporation has written to the ministry seeking the Finance Ministry’s approval to release the payment through EXIM Bank.

The aircraft supplier is yet to receive 40 percent of the third installment and the final delivery payment. 

Following the arrival of another two Y-12e aircraft, the national flag carrier’s domestic fleet will swell to nine planes including three vintage Twin Otters.

Talks on Airbus A330 jets after Dashain

A technical team from Hi Fly, a Lisbon-based airline which has ordered two Airbus A330-200s jets on behalf of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), is scheduled to arrive in Nepal after Dashain, the carrier said.

The team will discuss aircraft specifications including seating capacity and other technical aspects, said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. 

The national flag carrier has selected a consortium led by US-based AAR Corp to supply the planes. AAR Corp has formed a special purpose vehicle led by Hi Fly. NAC has signed a $209.6-million contract with the consortium. 

Last June, NAC made an advance payment of $79 million for the two wide-body aircraft. The payment amount is 35 percent of the cost of the jets. According to NAC, the first of the two planes is expected to arrive in Nepal in May 2018, and the second one by June. 

NAC has borrowed Rs24 billion from the Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to buy the jets. (PR

Published: 22-09-2017 08:20

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