NAC Adding Wings

With two decades of stagnation, Nepal Airlines is adding new aircraft to its fleet

Feb. 4, 2017, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10, No 12, February 3,2017, (Magh 21,2073)

For almost two decades of stagnation in the expansion of its fleet, Nepal Airlines is now adding big and small aircraft. After inducting two Airbus 319 aircraft, Nepal Airlines has signed an agreement for the delivery of two more wide body airbuses to its fleet.

If things go as planned, Nepal Airlines will receive the first wide plane in September and the second the next year. With the new wide body, Nepal Airlines will strengthen its reach in the global market.

The airlines is receiving two China-made aircraft, Harbin Y12e and MA 60, making a total of four Chinese aircraft in its fleet.

The 17-seater aircraft is a part of grant and loan agreement that Nepal has signed with China for six aircraft. While two aircraft - one MA 60 and Y12e - were delivered more than two years ago, the third aircraft - MA 60 - has landed at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

Nepal Airlines Corporation's pilot Gopal Singh Bista flew the 56-seater plane, which has been named Fewa, all the way from Kunming via Dhaka. The aircraft has received 9N-AKR call sign from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

NAC plans to operate 14 additional flights to different domestic destinations, according to Janakraj Kalakheti, commercial director of NAC. “The two MA 60s will operate 32 flights a week,” he said, adding that the new aircraft will help the NAC to expand its market share.

According to an agreement that NAC signed with AVIC International Holding in December 2012, China will provide two aircraft on grants, while it will arrange soft loans to purchase four aircraft.

Though NAC took delivery of two Chinese aircraft in 2014 itself, it was reluctant to receive the remaining four aircraft because of issues related to spare parts, training of pilots and engineers, load capacity and insurance.

Following long negotiations, Nepal Airlines has brought two more aircraft. Dominated by private sector airlines, the NAC will have the two new aircraft adding its strength in the domestic market.

In the recent years, Nepal Airlines Corporation, which used to have a lion's share in the domestic market, has shrunk to virtually none. The new induction of the aircraft will be a booster for the flag carrier.

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