KATHMANDU, Nov 28: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has said the government was committed to making the services of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) effective and expanded the number of its destinations.
The matter whether to develop the NAC into a company model or the government strategic partnership was in the discussion phase, he said, adding that however, the government had planned to make the NAC able to compete with other airlines companies in the world.
He was speaking at a face-to-face programme organized by the Reporters' Club Nepal here today.
Minister Adhikari was of the view that the NAC should not be weakened in the name of irregularities. However, he admitted that challenges were there in its operation.
"The issue about the purchase of 'wide-body' aircraft by the NAC has been like a hot cake," the minister said, adding that the purchasing process had begun from 2071 BS.
He took a moment to refute the accusation that NAC presently did not provide the 'wide-body' services.
According to him, presently wide-body services are available seven hours a day, and this should be increased to 13-14 hours a day.
He shared the government plans of adding Osaka of Japan in the list of NAC destinations from coming February and a new route in China from March. He hinted the possibility of the need for more aircraft in the future with the identification of new destinations.
The Civil Aviation Minister maintained that a parliamentary committee and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority are looking into the issues relating to alleged irregularities in the purchase process of the wide-body aircraft and the Ministry is lending its full support towards that end.
He pledged action if the charge was proved. As he claimed, Nepal is capable to bring in 2.5 million tourists by the visit year 2020 AD. "Efforts are being made to increase the contribution of tourism sector to the country's GDP to 10 percent. The TIA would be readied for 24-hour service operations once the works to upgrade its runway got completed.”
The Minister utilized the moment to say that the contribution-based Social Security Programme announced by the government Tuesday was for the welfare of working-class people.