Flight delay: Nepal Airlines’ wide-body planes are not arriving on schedule


Airbus-a330-200Kathmandu, April 6

Nepal Airlines Corporation’s plan to bring a wide-body aircraft within Mangsir, 2073 (about eight months from now) has hit a snag. This comes as the flag-carrier has failed to operate its two narrow-body Airbus 320 planes in full capacity.

About two months ago, NAC had made public a three-year action plan for institutional reforms. As per the action plan, NAC was supposed to get two wide-body aircraft — one within Mangsir and another within Magh, 2073 (about 10 months from now). Tourism Secretary Prem Rai told Onlinekhabar said the process for procurement of wide-body aircraft will not move ahead because the airlines has failed to operate its (narrow-body) aircraft in full capacity.

There’s a need to fly narrow-body aircraft up to 14 hours daily, but NAC is flying those planes 7-8 hours daily. Rai said: The process for procurement of wide-body aircraft will begin once NAC starts flying the narrow-body planes at least 12 hours daily.

He said: Things like daily flight hours of existing planes, profit-and-loss scenario and viability of operating new planes, status of pilots and cabin crows matter. According to Rai, the new plane procurement process will not move ahead without improvement in these areas. Rai, who chairs the NAC board of directors, says he also has to take responsibility in the event of failure to operate new planes.

As per the three-year plan, NAC should have taken a decision about a month ago on managing funds required for purchasing the wide-body aircraft. A proposal seeking Rs 26 billion loan for procurement of the aircraft has been pending at the Ministry of Finance.

According to the plan, the NAC should have readied a tender for aircraft purchase and discussed the same at the board of directors to invite bids within Baishakah (about a month from now).

The tender is almost ready, according to NAC General Manager Sugat Ratna Kamsakar. Talking about the plan to move the tender to the BoD next week, he said: Delay of a week or two is but natural.

But inviting the tender on schedule will be impossible because the NAC will not be able to fly the narrow-body planes for 12 hours daily within Baishakh. Kamsakar admits that flying existing Airbus 10-12 hours daily will take about four-five months.

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