NAC changes operation director over Kathmandu-Dubai flight incident

Published On: April 3, 2023 08:30 PM NPT By: Sajira Shrestha

KATHMANDU, April 3: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has removed RK Sherchan from the position of operations director after the delay in Kathmandu-Dubai flight on Sunday. The corporation has given the responsibility to Uddhav Ghimire, a senior pilot of the state-owned airlines company.

According to the NAC’s spokesperson, Ramesh Paudel, Ghimire assumed office on Monday. Although Sherchan is in the management team of the NAC, he will no longer be able to lead the operations department.

"Captain Ghimire has assumed office on Monday itself," said Paudel, the spokesperson.

Senior Captain Sherchan has been removed from the responsibility of operations director as per the decision of the executive chairman with the incident affecting the Kathmandu-Dubai flight. This change of responsibility was finalized on Sunday itself.

Earlier, NAC had started an internal action regarding the incident of Kathmandu-Dubai flight which had to be stopped suddenly at midnight on Saturday.

The flight was suspended as the NAC could not immediately arrange another pilot after the pilot on duty suffered from diarrhea. The arrangement of alternate pilots is supposed to be done by the Operation Department.

Yubraj Adhikari, executive chairman of the NAC, has asked Operations Director RK Sherchan to furnish the reasons behind his failure to manage an extra pilot in the flight.

An employee of the NAC said that Adhikari asked him for an explanation on Sunday evening to furnish a reply within 24 hours. The employee said that Sherchan was accused of being negligent even when he was repeatedly instructed to speed up the necessary pilot training in order to make the flight management of the NAC more effective.

“Four pilots of the Airbus-a330 aircraft have been sent for training at once. In this regard, the provision of backup pilots has been ignored and this practice has been repeated many times,” he said.

Passengers, who had taken boarding passes to fly to Dubai on Saturday night, were in trouble due to a sudden flight cancellation. Passengers, who were ready to come to Kathmandu from the NAC’s wide body aircraft, were left in trouble in Dubai as well.

As a result of this incident, the NAC was forced to incur an additional cost of keeping passengers in hotels on both sides. Although the NAC managed to fly those passengers on Sunday, the incident has tarnished the reputation of the national flag carrier.

The NAC has also formed a committee to investigate the incident. An investigation committee has been formed under the coordination of Deputy General Manager Janak Kalakheti with Captain Suraj Bhandari and Manager Narayan Paudel as its members.

Meanwhile, the NAC has also warned Senior Captain Vijay Lama, Operations Manager Chakra Nakarmi and its country manager for Malaysia Netra Raj Raut as per the regulations, stating that the necessary process for the renewal of flights to Malaysia has not been carried forward.

According to NAC sources, this action has been taken forward after the Foreign Airlines Operating License (FAOC), which needs to be renewed in five years, has to be chartered if it is not renewed.

“The schedule has been approved from there. However, after it was found that the renewal process itself was entangled in such a way that the image of the NAC itself was put in question, the action was taken forward,” said a source requesting anonymity.

At present, the NAC has been flying to New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Riyadh, Narita, Dubai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and other destinations through four large aircraft including two wide-body aircraft.

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