Nepal Airlines Corporation’s (NAC) brand new wide-body Airbus A330-200 jet is expected to touch down at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) by the first week of June, a reliable source at the corporation said. Of the two long-range jets on order, another one is expected to arrive a month after the first delivery. The exact date in June, however, has not been unveiled.
The 274-seater jets have ordered from Hi Fly X, a leasing company based in Ireland. Corporation officials said the new wide-body aircraft would be the biggest milestone for Nepal’s booming tourism industry as it would open up opportunities for the national flag carrier to expand the airline’s footprint in long-haul destinations.
According to the corporation, a five-member team, including the officials from the Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the financer of the project are scheduled to visit the Airbus plant in Toulouse, France in the first week of April to inspect the aircraft. “The team comprises a representative from Tourism Ministry including two officials from the NAC,” according to NAC sources. The carrier has borrowed Rs24 billion from the CIT and the EPF to buy the planes.
According to a news report in The Kathmandu Post daily, in April last year, NAC had signed the final purchase agreement for two Airbus A330-200 long-range jets from US-based AAR Corp. The $209.6-million contract for two jets marks the largest-ever jet purchase deal in Nepal’s aviation history.
NAC has already started preparations to launch three long-haul routes in Asia, but it has had to put its European plans on hold as Nepali carriers are still banned in the EU.