KATHMANDU, April 27: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has started the process to procure three aircraft, aiming to extend its services in domestic flights.
Ramesh Poudel, spokesperson for the NAC, said the corporation is purchasing ‘short takeoff and landing’ aircraft. According to him, these aircraft will be used for conducting flights in rural areas.
Poudel said there is an increase in demand for domestic flights of late. “Since we have a limited number of airplanes, we have aimed to expand our services with the help of additional aircraft,” he said.
To take forward the procurement process, the NAC has formed a seven-member subcommittee led by senior captain Sudhir Sumsher Rai. Poudel said the subcommittee has already submitted its report to the NAC board. “The corporation will soon open the tender process to purchase the aircraft directly from the manufacturers,” he added.
Currently, the NAC is reeling under the debt of Rs 41 billion. The national flag carrier has stepped up to own new airplanes citing the possibility of making good earnings out of its additional businesses. According to the NAC report, the corporation earned a profit of Rs 1 billion in the fiscal year 2021/22.
While purchasing an airbus, the NAC took loans of Rs 22 billion and Rs 12 billion from the Employees Provident Fund and Citizen Investment Trust, respectively. Since mid-June last year, the NAC has paid Rs 2.94 billion to these entities.
Currently, the NAC operates domestic flights by using two twin otter airplanes. On an average, it operates 35 flights in 15 destinations per week.
Although the NAC owns another six Chinese aircraft, they have remained out of function for a long time. The corporation is looking forward to selling these airplanes.
The NAC has been using its two narrow-body and two wide-body aircraft to conduct international flights. The state-owned corporation has been flying regularly to New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Qatar, Dubai, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
Poudel said by using the new airplanes, the NAC has plans to operate flights to Mugu and Dolpa, along with a number of locations of Far-western Nepal.