September 18: A parliamentary committee has directed Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to sell two of its China-made aircraft.
Six aircraft purchased from China or donated by the northern neighbor have been causing problem for NAC mainly due to the lack of pilots and unavailability spare parts. This has prevented the aircraft from operating at its optimal performance.
The flag carrier currently has two MA-60 and four Harbin Y-12 e Chinese aircraft in its fleet. The government of Nepal had procured the first two Chinese aircraft in 2014 and the other four in 2017.
The aircraft were procured with Rs 6.6 billion subsidized loan and grant from China.
Three Harbin Y-12 e and one MA-60 aircraft were bought with the Chinese grant while the remaining two aircraft were received in donation from China.
The Harbin Y-12 e aircraft is suitable to be operated in the hill region of Nepal for short take-off and landing (STOL) and the MA-60 is suitable for operation in other routes.
Currently, only three Harbin Y-12 e aircraft out the total four belonging to NAC are air worthy and the airlines has been operating only two of these aircraft due to the lack of manpower and spare parts.
Similarly, only one out of the two MA-60 aircraft belonging to NAC is in good condition to fly.