Kathmandu, May 4
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is planning to purchase five new aircraft in 2022. This comes as a shock to many as NAC, which has debt in excess of Rs 47 billion, has not been paying its due instalments of the aircraft it purchased over the past decade.
It has been six months since the new executive board took office. On this occasion, the board had submitted a proposal to buy five brand-new aircraft within the next six months. The corporation has not made public how it is going to manage funds to buy the new aircraft.
According to NAC’s spokesperson Archana Khadka, the corporation is looking for around Rs 6.58 billion to purchase five new aircraft. She says the corporation wants new aircraft so that the corporation can provide services to remote areas of Nepal.
“We want to buy three aircraft worth Rs 860 million each to fly to remote areas,” says Khadka.
She says the corporation is also planning to buy two new aircraft to fly to developed areas of the country. These aircraft would cost NAC Rs 2 billion each and is part of NAC’s 10-year business plan. The plan states that after the purchase of new aircraft meant for domestic flights, the corporation will restart flights to Lukla, Pokhara, Jomsom and Bhairawaha.
Further, it wants to purchase a further four aircraft to fly domestically and two narrow-body aircraft to fly internationally in 2023. The business plan also states that the corporation wants to buy one widebody and two narrowbody aircraft and expands its fleet for international flights in 2024. Khadka says the corporation wants to buy a widebody aircraft in 2025 as well.
“We want to give services to Seoul (South Korea), Shangai and Guangzhou (China), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Ahmedabad (India), Indonesia, Frankfurt (Germany) and Australia,” says Khadka.
The corporation in the past had said it needed the government’s help to restart six grounded aircraft that needed maintenance. But, since the government has not batted an eye, the six Chinese aircraft are in a sorry state.