NAC not in the position to undertake aircraft maintenance
KATHMANDU, July 1: Cash-strapped Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is not in a position to undertake maintenance of its only two old aircrafts. Officials said the ailing carrier was not in a position to arrange over US$ 13 million for the major maintenance due to its worsening financial position.
Employees of NAC have expressed worry over the company´s inability to bear the cost of the regular C-Check and engine overhauling of the two Boeing aircrafts.
Speaking at the 54th anniversary of NAC, president of NAC Employees´ Association Tarani Dahal said the estimated cost of C-check and overhaul of the two aircrafts is $3.9 million and $ 2.6 million respectively. "This is a huge amount for the corporation when it is not even in the position to offer gratuity to retiring employees," he said.
The employee union leaders have asked the government to allow NAC to use new aircrafts taken on lease to continue service as the procurement deal is less likely to be finalized in current state of the country´s politics.
NAC Spokesperson Saroj Kasajoo said the total market share of the national flag carrier was less than five percent in the domestic and international market.
"Of the total annual volume of domestic market worth Rs 6 billion, our business is limited to hardly Rs 250 million. Our business is less than Rs 4 billion out of the total annual international flight service business worth Rs 80 billion in Nepal," he said.
There are over half a dozen carriers in the domestic market and more than 30 international carriers operate in Nepal.
NAC officials have also requested the government to allow them to continue ground handling unless a new aircraft comes into operation. "The financial situation of NAC is not hidden and in a situation like this ground handling has been one of the major sources of revenue," Kasajoo said.
Chairman of NAC Manurup Shahi unveiled the carrier plan to extend international destination to Riyadh and Kuwait. "Although our aircrafts are not enough for many destination adding flights to these two sectors is profitable as well as important for migrant workers," said he. NAC at present has limited its international destinations to five.
On the other hand, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Post Bahadur Bogati lambasted the NAC employees.
He instead blamed the employees for the present situation of the corporation. He said, "Although we are working on procurement deal for a new aircraft, I don´t find it necessary to share with you." He further blamed the employees for poor performance and said unnecessary politicization in the union was another hurdle facing the corporation.