11 foreign firms bid to supply aircraft

- SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Nov 11, 2016-

Eleven international firms had submitted bids to supply two long-range wide-body passenger jets to Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) when the deadline ended on Wednesday. 

A notice inviting proposals from aircraft manufacturers, airlines, aircraft leasing companies and bankers for two Airbus A330-200 aircraft was issued on September 26. 

The 11 hopeful suppliers are Rolls-Royce, KL AeroParts, Aircraft Investment Group, Crown Commercial Services, Synergy Aerospace, ST Aerospace, Le Group Delta, AAR Corporation, Surya Air Support, KJT Investment & One World Closeouts and Ron Motta & Associates Aircraft Sales & Parts. Rolls-Royce, however, has applied to supply aircraft engine only.

“We have formed an 11-member evaluation committee to study the technical and financial proposals of the prospective suppliers. It will take at least three weeks to complete the evaluation process,” said NAC Managing Director Sugat Ratna Kansakar. 

He added that there would be no need to shortlist the bidders. “It’s a ‘one-envelope’ bidding procedure where they submit bids in one envelope containing both the price and the technical proposal,” he said. 

“The offer price made by the bidders will be evaluated to see whether it meets our specifications as mentioned in the request for proposal, and one will be selected based on the most appropriate offer.”  

Kansakar refused to divulge the lowest price offer made by the bidders. NAC expects to spend Rs25 billion for the two jets. “Even if the supplier’s offer is more than the NAC’s investment plan, it can be arranged.” 

The national flag carrier has planned to induct one A330 into its fleet by September 2017 and another by March 2018. 

Kansakar said that the bid evaluation process and the arrangement of funds to buy the planes were being pursued simultaneously. “As of now, we have received a credit offer totalling Rs60 billion from private commercial banks, Citizens Investment Trust and Employees Provident Fund to finance the project,” he said. “We have been holding meetings with them, particularly on the rate of interest.” 

NAC has stipulated that the jets should not have more than 1,000 flight hours on them and that the date of manufacture should not be before January 2014. The A330-200 it plans to buy can accommodate up to 280 passengers in a two-class layout. 

The supplier should include the cost of a minimum set of flight and maintenance crews for the duration of at least one year. It should also include the cost of consumable spares and tools required for day-to-day line maintenance up to the ‘A’ check level for a year.

The carrier has proposed procuring long-range jets to serve destinations in North America, Japan, Australia and the UK as they have been identified as prospective markets for Nepal over the next 20 years.

NAC purchased two Airbus A320-200 aircraft last year by borrowing Rs10 billion from the Employees Provident Fund in its first fleet expansion project in 27 years.

Nepal Airlines has moved up to the second spot in international passenger carriage, marking a massive turnaround after years in the wilderness. The venerable national flag carrier flew 178,799 passengers in the first six months of 2016, nearly double the figure of the first half of last year. According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal Airlines saw its passenger traffic swell by a robust 90 percent during the period January-June to take second place after Qatar Airways.

Nepal Airlines began flying high after inducting two new Airbus A320 aircraft into its fleet last year. It resumed flights to Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi soon after acquiring the new jets, and now serves eight international destinations.

Published: 11-11-2016 08:49

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