The government has sped up preparations to sign loan and grant agreements with China to procure four aircraft for the state-run Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The government is planning to procure three Harbin Y12 and an MA 60 aircraft from China. Under the procurement package, China is giving one Y12 and an M60 to Nepal under grant.
The finance ministry has already sent drafts of the loan and draft agreements to the tourism and law ministries for their comments. It will then be forwarded to China.
China has promised Nepal to arrange soft loans to purchase the aircraft from China EXIM Bank. The government intensified the preparation for signing agreement after the MA60 aircraft received type certification from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) – the aviation service regulator.
According to government officials, the exact amount of the loan to be taken from the Chinese bank and the interest rate have not been finalized yet. However, they said the four aircraft could cost around US$35 million. The package includes spare parts and pilot training among other facilities.
NAC had signed a commercial agreement with the AVIC International Holdings of China to procure the six aircraft in November last year.