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Nepal Airlines Team Set to Bring Remaining Chinese Planes

Nepal Airlines

On 30th Jan, Tuesday, officials of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) left for Harbin, China to take delivery of the remaining two out of its order for six aircraft.

Why it matters:

  • The assembling of the aircrafts for Nepal was completed in early 2015, but they have remained in the hanger since then. Therefore, they need to be inspected before they are flown to Nepal.
  • According to NAC spokesperson Rabindra Shrestha, a team of five technicians are being sent for the inspection. After the inspection is completed, the two aircraft will be brought to Nepal which will take at least 10-12 days.
  • Once these aircrafts arrive, NAC plans to resume flights on remote domestic routes that had been suspended till now due to lack of aircrafts. The addition of these two aircrafts will make the total of the national flag carrier’s domestic fleet to nine.

The Backstory:

  • 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.
  • Two aircrafts, one 56-seater MA60 and one 17-seater Y12e arrived in Kathmandu in April and November 2014 respectively as gifts under the deal.
  • 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 in the first lot.
  • In February 2017, the corporation received another MA60 and Y12e aircraft. However, due to lack of flight crew the process of bringing the remaining two Y12e was stalled.
  • Recently, the Tourism Ministry was asked by NAC to settle the final installment of the payment to the aircraft suppliers.

What they are saying:

“NAC has now produced pilots to fly the aircraft. NAC has prepared three senior pilots, a dozen co-pilots and an instructor pilot for the Y12e aircraft.”, says Shrestha.

The Financial details:

  • The two aircrafts one 56-seater MA60 and one 17-seater Y12e provided by china as gifts were worth Rs. 2.94 billion.
  • The corporation had written to the ministry to ask for the Finance Ministry’s approval to release the payment through China EXIM Bank. The other aircraft are being bought with a soft loan of Rs. 3.72 billion provided by the bank.

What’s Next:

The airline has already started working on buying at least 4 de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. The aircrafts are currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter.

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