April 1: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has decided to lease out its grounded aircraft in a bid to reduce the financial burden of the national flag carrier of Nepal.
NAC is facing a financial burden due to its inability to operate and manage six Chinese aircraft.
NAC owns six Chinese aircraft including two MA 60 and four Y-12E. The aircraft were bought for domestic flights. Nepal received one MA 60 and one Harbin Y-12E each as grant from the Chinese government. Similarly, Nepal's national flag carrier had purchased an additional MA 60 aircraft and three Harbin Y-12E aircraft from the Chinese aircraft manufacturer Avic International on concessional loan.
NAC incurred heavy financial losses while operating the Chinese aircraft due to load penalties, insurance, short-supply of spare parts, expensive parts, expensive simulator training cost. Sulekh Mishra, deputy-spokesperson of NAC, informed that all the Chinese aircraft are grounded since July 30, 2020.
Out of the six Chinese aircraft, only five are functional, and one needs maintenance.
The Harbin Y 12 E aircraft with call sign 9N AKU crashed on the runway of Nepalgunj Airport on March 28, 2020. NAC is planning to lease out the remaining five aircraft.
NAC had been operating the Chinese aircraft on domestic routes since 2016.
Karishma Shrestha, spokesperson of NAC, informed that a ministerial-level decision on March 17, 2021, paved the way for the corporation to manage the Chinese aircraft.
In line with the decision, NAC has decided to lease out the aircraft to domestic or foreign aircraft operators for the best interest of the Government of Nepal and the corporation, said Shrestha.