KATHMANDU, Feb 24: Agni Air on Sunday announced that it would resume operation by the second week of March.
The airline has been grounded since November, 2012 after it failed to pay its outstanding dues to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) - the aviation sector regulator.
Addressing a press briefing in the capital on Sunday, Sudhir Basnet, chairman of Agni Air, said the airline will be back in the sky by the second week of March.
Basnet has leased out the airline to Shivam Investment, which is promoted by a group of pilots and tourism entrepreneurs, for seven years. As per the agreement, Shivam Investment will pay Rs 680 million to the promoters for the lease period.
Promoters of Agni Air has 25 percent stake in Shivam Investment.
Agni Air owes a total of Rs 800 million, including Rs 650 million that the airline needs to pay to different commercial banks. Other dues include salary of employees, fuel bills of Nepal Oil Corporation, and landing and parking fees of CAAN.
The market share of Agni Air had been shrinking from the very beginning of 2012 as its operation was frequently halted due to huge liabilities of its promote Sudhi Basnet, who has diverse business interests.
According to Basnet, the airline was facing loss of Rs 60 million every three months. “As we are not in a position to operate the airline, we felt leasing out would be the best option,” he added.
Agni Air had initially planned to sell its entire property, including aircraft, at Rs 1 billion. But the plan did not materialize.
The airline presently has five aircraft -- three 29-seater Jetstream 41s and two 19-seater Dorniers. However, except for one Dornier all other aircraft are in need of maintenance.
“Shivam Investment has already started repairing the aircraft,” he added.
Established in 2006, Agni Air was among top three carriers till 2011. The airline was operating flights to eight destinations, including mountain flights.
Oriental assures depositors of repayment KATHMANDU: Oriental Savings and Credit Co-operative Ltd has proposed new schemes to repay its depositors.
Sudhir Basnet, executive chairman of the co-operative, on Sunday requested the depositors to buy land plots or apartments developed by the co-operative.
Oriental had stopped paying its depositors since mid-November, 2012. It has mobilized deposits of more than Rs 3.80 billion from thousands of depositors.
“Once the big depositors start buying property by making some additional payments, we will start repaying our small depositors,” Basnet said, adding, “As per the scheme, depositors who don´t want to buy the property will have to wait for three years.”
Basnet, however, said they would pay interest amount to such depositors on quarterly basis.
Under the scheme, Oriental has announced to arrange loan to the depositors willing to buy its property.