KATHMANDU, June 26: A 12-member team has left for Toulouse of France to take delivery of the wide-body aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
According to Nepal Airlines Corporation, they team will take delivery of first of the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft ordered by the national flag carrier. The aircraft is scheduled to land at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu on Thursday.
The team includes NAC Spokesperson Rabindra Shrestha, director of Engineering Department, director of Corporate Department, director of Quality Assurance Department and few representatives from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). The team also includes NAC pilots Captain Shrawan Rijal and Captain MM Dangol.
Similarly, Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC, left for Toulouse on Sunday, according to Sailesh Kansakar, joint spokesperson for NAC.
“A 12-member team has left for Toulouse to receive the aircraft. According to the schedule, the aircraft will land at TIA at 8:30 am on Thursday,” Shailesh added.
He also said that NAC will pay the second instalment of Rs 8 billion by Tuesday. The national flag carrier had paid Rs 4 billion in the first installment.
NAC is investing Rs 24 billion to purchase two Airbus A330-200 wide-body aircraft. Both the aircraft are configured to carry 274 passengers including 16 in business class. Each plane costs Rs 12 billion. The two aircraft were ordered by Portuguese aircraft leasing company HI FLY. However, NAC is procuring the aircraft from American company AAR Corp.
NAC has taken loans from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) to purchase the two planes.
According to joint spokesperson Shailesh, NAC has already arranged six pilots to fly the wide-body aircraft, while more pilots are still under training. Around 28 to 30 pilots will be needed to operate two wide-body aircraft, say NAC officials. Each aircraft will need eight pilots and eight co-pilots. Since there is a lack of pilots in the country, NAC is also preparing to recruit foreign pilots.
Shailesh also said that the aircraft will begin operation after two or three weeks only. “We have to go through several procedures with CAAN as well as the customs office,” he said, adding: “It will take at least two to three weeks.”
The aircraft will start commercial operation with a flight to Dubai.
The national flag carrier currently flies to eight international destinations with a Boeing 757 and two Airbus 320 series aircraft. NAC is scheduled flights to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Doha, Dubai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.