Panel recommends NAC add two narrow body planes

Published On: September 19, 2019 09:59 AM NPT By: Muna Sunuwar  | @TheMunaSun

KATHMANDU, Sept 19: A committee formed by the government a month ago to bring reforms in Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has recommended the corporation to immediately add two Airbus 320 aircraft to fly to newly-identified destinations.

Former secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sushil Ghimire, who led the committee, said it was important to find out suitable destinations through sector analysis. 

“The additional aircraft will add flight frequency in the destinations where the NAC is making profit, and operate flights to NAC-identified destinations Riyadh, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Australia where the passenger flow is high,” Ghimire said.

A report presented by the committee on Wednesday has suggested the NAC to procure aircraft directly from manufacturer as it maintains transparency and makes the work easier. The report also recommends the NAC to include a representative of the government or the Ministry of Finance in the NAC’s committee while negotiating to procure aircraft.

The report stated that the corporation’s credibility became weak and its destinations lessened because of the government’s inability to decide on procuring aircraft, apart from the lack of equipment.

It stated that the NAC should have done enough homework for the new system before shifting to Airbus from Boeing. It should have developed manpower including pilot, engineer and other technicians along with the selection of appropriate destinations, the report said, adding that the NAC seemed lagging in this regard. 

During the presentation of the report, highlighting the importance of sector analysis, Ghimire said less occupancy rate in the flights was causing the losses.

“Even if the NAC followed the recommendations provided by us, we cannot project it to make profits right after the implementation,” said Ghimire, adding: “Unless the national flag carrier becomes strong in itself, it will be hard for the country’s tourism sector to develop.”

The committee concluded that the public enterprise should reform itself as a company and issue 5% share to public.

Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had formed the five-member committee on August 7 to bring reforms in the national flag carrier. Sushil Ghimire, former Secretary of the ministry of tourism had lead the team comprising of chartered accountant Subodh Kumar Karna, management consultant Dim Prasad Poudel, captain Sudhir Sumsher Rai, and the tourism ministry’s joint secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane.

The team was given with the responsibility of analyzing earlier reports submitted to improve the NAC’s overall situation, identifying and analyzing the NAC’s legal and management capabilities. The team was also mandated to present a work-plan for immediate and long term improvement in the corporation.

The corporation has a cumulative loss of Rs 5.21 billion and has a loan load of Rs 40 billion. The government’s investment in the corporation stands at Rs 31.04 billion.

NAC to provide 50 percent discount for senior citizens
KATHMANDU: The NAC is providing 50% discount on airfare for citizens aged 70 or above, as part of the programs announced by tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai. The offer is effective from September 18. Passengers are required to come up with a document that proves their age. The discounted tickets will be made available from the airlines’ office. The airline has been providing discounted and free tickets to cancer patients under its corporate social responsibility activity.

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