At a time when the concerned ministries and people are raising questions about the capability and efficiency of Nepal Airlines Corporation, managing director SUGAT RATNA KANSAKAR has joined in the debate through the social media, posting on his Facebook wall what he calls the myths and realities.
Myth 1:NAC is a loss-making entity.
Reality:NAC was always in profit for the past 25-30 years except for one year when the Lauda scandal happened.
Myth 2:NAC does not do ground-handling business.
Reality:Ground-handling business has been done by the national flag carriers all over the world, in 200 countries, for the past 70/80 years of the entire history of commercial air service business. Only in the past 20/25 years, a few countries introduced the private sector in the ground-handling service.
Myth 3:NAC workers or staff are worse than that of other government offices.
Reality: NAC is the only government entity competing with more than two dozen foreign giant companies, but still surviving. This proves the average NAC staffs are better than others working in entities without any competition or less competition.
Myth 4:NAC should initiate wide-body purchase just the next day after A320s are fully utilized
Reality:There is no harm in proceeding with both activities simultaneously and it is almost certain that A320s will be fully utilized (11/12 hrs per day) well before induction of the wide-body.
Myth 5:When NAC has to depend on foreign pilots to operate A320s, why are new Nepalese pilots not hired and trained by NAC?
Reality:Most people are not aware of the status and functions of fresh pilot, co-pilot, captain, instructor pilot etc. As piloting affairs are governed not only by NAC rules, but also by CAAN guidelines and above all by international aviation laws, it is impossible to produce captains from fresh pilots in a few months or a few years.
Myth 6:NAC is too much dependent on manpower migration; hence fleet expansion will be risky.
Reality:When the country is hoping for growth in the tourism industry, how can NAC leave the air transport business to foreign airlines only? Secondly, there is no indication yet that migrant workers in Middle East and Malaysia will be drastically reduced in the near future. Thirdly, a big population of NRNs all over the world is also a distinct target group for NAC’s business.
Myth 7:NAC is unnecessarily spending a huge money on maintenance of old Boeings.
Reality:Without regular maintenance/repair, any aircraft will be grounded. Secondly, if Boeings are sold or disposed or grounded before inducting two wide-body aircraft, NAC will be forced to stop flights to two or three international destinations, thereby damaging NAC’s reputation. Thirdly, when maintenance/repair of two Boeings were being done on a regular basis in the past 30 yrs, why this issue came up just before the wide-body purchase?
Myth 8:NAC has no ability to operate bigger aircraft.
Reality: NAC is already operating B757 having 190 seats for the past 30 yrs, why can NAC not operate A330-200, having just about 70 seats more. Secondly, Nepal must come out from the inferiority complex of feeling that Nepalese cannot do bigger things. Thirdly, when NAC managed RA flights to London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Osaka in the past, why not now, why can NAC not do that again?
Myth 9:Wide-body induction may be a business risk.
Reality:When almost all foreign airlines coming to Kathmandu are bringing wide-body, there must be a business sense. Secondly, there is no zero-risk business in the world.
Myth 10: NAC is always in the news because it is not doing a good job.
Reality: Aviation industry is considered as the most glamorous industry after cinema in the whole world. There used to be too much hype in the media about airline industry all over the world in every country. Hence, Nepal cannot be an exception.
Myth 11:NAC is responsible for all problems in Kathmandu airport.
Reality:There are other very important agencies working in airport like police department, immigration department, Civil Aviation Authority (airport management) and customs department. Secondly, it should be noted that NAC staff are handling an average of 8000 passengers (total of arrivals and departures) everyday. One or two lapses or weaknesses from NAC staff may happen when NAC staff are handling 240,000 passengers every month.