Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on Sunday welcomed a new Airbus 200-320 aircraft to its international fleet.
The aircraft landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu at 4:30 pm. The aircraft was given water cannon salute as it touched down on the tarmac. Cultural troupe performed traditional music, while priests changed holy mantras. Priests also offered special worship as per the Hindu tradition.
The new aircraft has been named ‘Sagarmatha’ and it has received 9N-AKW call-sign from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). This is the first of two Airbus A320-200 aircraft ordered by NAC. The second aircraft is arriving in April.
This is the first expansion in the national flag carrier’s international fleet in 27 years. NAC had last acquired a Boeing 757 aircraft in 1988.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Deepak Chandra Amatya, NAC Chairman Shiva Sharan Neupane, NAC Managing Director Madan Kharel, engineers of NAC and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and a representative of Airbus were on board the aircraft. The aircraft came to Nepal from Airbus plant in Hamburg via a brief stopover in Doha.
Addressing a formal program on Sunday evening, Minister Amatya said NAC was in desperate need of aircraft for international flights. He also said the new aircraft will enhance NAC’s service delivery and strengthen its brand.
Similarly, Managing Director Kharel said the national flag carrier would purchase a wide-body aircraft in the near future. He also told the program that NAC would start fly to New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Dubai and Guangzhou with the new aircraft.
The single-aisle jet is configured to carry 158 seats including eight in business class. It has Sharklet fuel-saving wing tip devices, which, according to Airbus, will deliver unbeatable economics and up to 4 percent reduction in fuel burn.