Nepal Airline receives two Chinese planes

Kathmandu, Oct 28 (IANS) State-owned Nepal Airline Corporation (NAC) said it has initiated steps to bring four of the six Chinese aircraft it has contracted for, having received two.

According to the commercial agreement signed between Nepal’s national flag carrier and Chinese supplier AVIC International Holding in December 2012, Nepal would acquire six Chinese aircraft, two in grant and four in soft loan, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of these, the NAC has already acquired one 56-seater MA60 and one 17-seater Y12e delivered under grant component of the agreement with the Chinese government but it is yet to take delivery of three Y12e and one MA60.

“We have received instruction from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to move ahead for getting delivery of four Chinese planes after sorting out the issues,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, NAC Managing Director.

“We are holding discussion with the Chinese suppler on issues such as pilot training, easy availability of spare parts and maintenance support to ensure unhindered operation of the planes after their arrival,” he said.

The NAC took steps for delivery of the remaining four aircraft after the ministry’s instruction last week, according to the airlines officials.

Kansakar said the Chinese supplier has expressed readiness to keep stock of spare parts in Nepal so that the NAC is not required to take the plane to China when spare parts need to changed.

According to him, the NAC plans to get delivery of one MA60 and one Y122 in the first phase, but no deadline has been fixed for the delivery.

Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has said that the regulator does not have many issues regarding the operation of the Chinese planes.

A type certificate is a regulator’s approval, given to a manufacturing design that cannot be changed. It reflects the regulator’s certification that the aircraft is manufactured according to an approved design, and that the design ensures compliance with airworthiness requirements.

The Chinese side has said that all the planes that Nepal sought to acquire are ready for delivery since 2015.

The aircraft, bearing NAC livery and Nepali registration numbers, have been sitting in the factory’s hangar since then.

The first MA60, which Nepal received as a gift from China, arrived in the capital Kathmandu in April 2014, and has been operating on trunk routes.

The other aircraft, the Y12e, landed in Kathmandu in November 2014, and is being used to serve remote airfields like Lukla, Jomsom, Manang, Simikot, Rara, Jumla and Dolpa.

–IANS

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