The state owned airline wants to get a more competitive regional fleet. To achieve this, Nepal Airlines would like to replace its Chinese regional planes.
Many airlines are currently canceling aircraft orders or at least postponing deliveries. Nepal Airlines on the other hand wants to buy five aircraft. The Kathmandu Post newspaper reports that the state-owned airline has asked the government for a budget of 4 billion Nepalese rupees or the equivalent of 30.5 million euros.
The new chairman of the supervisory board, Sushil Ghimire, said that despite tight state coffers due to the Corona crisis, the planes would be needed to ensure the transportation of people to the mountains. As international tourism will take years to recover, he said that the current focus is on domestic routes and flights.
Chinese aircraft unsuitable
Nepal Airlines’ regional fleet consists of two Chinese Xian MA60s with 56 seats each, four Chinese Harbin Y12s with 17 seats each and three old De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters with 19 seats each, according to the newspaper. Only one of the Y12s is airworthy, and there are only two pilots. Of the two MA60s, one has been grounded for two years because spare parts are missing.
«We have six aircraft from Chinese production, but they are not suitable for flying in Nepal,» says Ghimire. He said it was not possible to keep up with the private competition. The chairman did not say which manufacturer they were considering for the purchase of new planes.
Will new planes come from Canada?
However, Nepal Airlines had already applied to the Ministry of Finance in 2018 for permission to purchase five new Twin Otters. The private Nepalese competition flies with Dornier 228, Let L-410 or De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter.