Minister presses NAC to buy four new planes

Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya

Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya has put pressure on the board of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to endorse the proposal for purchasing two wide-body and two narrow-body aircraft.

Speaking at a program organized to celebrate 56th anniversary of the state-owned carrier a few days ago, the minister said NAC has to buy four planes at any cost and that the board should take appropriate decision accordingly.

NAC received a MA-60 aircraft from China two months ago. Similarly, it is scheduled to receive one more MA-60 and four Harbin Y-12e aircraft in the next few months. Early next year, it is scheduled to take delivery of two brand new Airbus A320-200s.

“Though I have been taking initiative to purchase four new plans for the past two months, the board is not taking any decision. I ask the board to take formal decision to buy four new planes and inform the ministry within 15 days,” he said at the program.

However, NAC officials have been maintaining that they don’t have sufficient fund to procure four new planes. As per the 10-year strategic plan of NAC, the national flag carrier will place orders for two narrow-body aircraft in 2016 and two narrow-body aircraft in 2017.

As per the plan, NAC will be operating a total of 25 planes, including nine for international operation, by 2024. At present, NAC has two ageing Boeing 757 aircraft for international routes. NAC aims to increase its share in the domestic market to 30 percent and international market to 27 percent by 2024.

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