18 DECEMBER 2014 KATHMANDU – Long Awaited Nepal’s National Airlines company’s first Airbus is on final stage of assembly for delivery soon in next year.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) said Wednesday that its first A320-200 jet ordered from Airbus was on the final assembly line. The aircraft’s fuselage, the main body section that holds the crew and passengers, has been assembled, it added.
Other tasks like fitting the engine, arranging the seats and painting the livery were in progress. The national flag carrier said in a statement that a test flight of the new jet had been scheduled for the end of January, and that the European manufacturer would be delivering the plane by February. The second jet is scheduled to arrive in Nepal by April.
The aircraft will have 158 seats, eight in business class and the rest in economy. The Airbus A320 is fitted with Sharklet fuel-saving wingtip devices that deliver unbeatable economics and up to 4 percent reduction in fuel burn.
The new A320 is also fully equipped with the latest Required Navigation Performance technologies, allowing the aircraft to fly precisely along predefined routes using state-of-the-art onboard navigation systems. This is particularly beneficial for operations at high altitude airports which are constrained by mountains such as the carrier’s base in Kathmandu.
On June 27, 2013, NAC had confirmed its order for two Airbus planes by signing an aircraft purchase agreement with Airbus. NAC’s aircraft procurement process had succeeded after a hiatus of five years. It currently possesses two ageing Boeing 757s. The second of the two planes was delivered to NAC in 1978. Since then, every effort to expand its international has failed. On June 18, 2013, the carrier signed a Rs 10 billion loan agreement with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to buy the two aircraft it had been eyeing for a long time. NAC hopes to repay the loan in seven to eight years.
After the A320s arrive, NAC plans to resume services to a number of international destinations which were taken offline for lack of aircraft. Over the last decade, the number of international destinations has been slashed from 21 to four reflecting the spreading malaise within the carrier.
Meanwhile, NAC said that the new Y-12e aircraft gifted by China would be put into commercial operation on Thursday. As per the schedule, it will fly two daily flights on the Kathmandu-Pokhara sector. NAC is offering a promotional fare of Rs 3,010 (including taxes). The return fare is Rs 3,160.
On November 2, NAC had received a Chinese-made 18-seater Y12e aircraft as part of a six- aircraft deal between Nepal and China. With this new aircraft, the ailing
national flag carrier will have four aircraft, including two Twin Otters and an MA60, in its domestic fleet. The delivery of the first batch of Y12e aircraft had been originally set for June 30.
The most corrupted government corporation in Nepal may survive by adding some new Planes and hope the country’s national flag carrier survive yet another scams in the future.