December 27, 2016 09:30 AM NPT
One MA 60, one Harbin Y12-E to be brought in first phase
KATHMANDU, Dec 27: The Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has decided to bring the remaining four aircraft from China.
Issuing a statement on Monday, the national flag carrier said that it was bringing the aircraft in two phases. It plans to bring one Modern Ark MA 60 and one Harbin Y-12E, in the first phase. MA 60 is a 56-seater aircraft, while Y-12E can fly 18 people.
NAC also said that it decided to bring the aircraft because price of these aircraft is lower compared to similar aircraft manufactured in European countries.
“The price of MA 60 and Y-12E is lower compared to similar aircraft made in European countries,” the statement said.
According to NAC, the Chinese aircraft can operate flights to 20 airports across the country
The NAC is already flying one MA 60 and one Y-12E received as grants from the Chinese government. These aircraft, however, have been facing various technical problems.
NAC officials say the Chinese manufacturer has promised to resolve the problems like maintenance, availability of spare parts, cost of training pilot and insurance, among others.
Nepal and China had sign a loan and grants agreement to bring six
aircraft -- two MA 60s and four Y-12E -- on November 13, 2013. As per the agreement, China had arranged soft loan worth Rs 3.72 billion to purchase the aircraft. The interest rate for soft loan has been fixed at 1.5 percent.
NAC took delivery of MA 60 in April, 2014, while the Y12-E joined its fleet seven months later. But the aircraft made loss as their operating costs was far higher than what they earned. NAC earned only Rs 141 million from MA 60 in the first year of operation, while its expenditure was Rs 405 million. Similarly, Y-12E earned Rs 12.2 million in the first nine months of its operation, compared to its operating cost of Rs 67.5 million.
NAC is working to increase its domestic fleet to increase its market share which has been dwindling in recent years.