We urgently need more aircraft

KATHMANDU: Asking the government not to be biased against Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), its Executive Chairman Sugat Ratna Kansakar has requested the government to provide bank guarantee for the purchase of aircraft urgently needed for the airline. “Addition of new aircraft is a must. If it takes another year for us to get those aircraft, it may have an effect on the Nepal Tourism Year 2011. Foreign airlines are charging 40-50 per cent higher airfare,” Kansakar said.

Most of the airlines in the world are expanding their fleet with modern aircraft. They are also fast capturing market share while NAC is struggling with two old Boeings, he said. NAC commands a meager six per cent share of the international air traffic to and from Kathmandu. Total air transport business of NAC is at Rs 4 billion. That is only about six per cent of the total air transport business at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), said Kansakar. According to a rough estimate, TIA witnesses air transport business to the tune of Rs 60 billion. “According to international norms, a national carrier should have 25-30 per cent market share,” he said.

NAC is currently flying to Hong Kong, Kuala Lampur and Dubai. “NAC needs to add more destinations,” Kansakar said. “If we get more aircraft, we have plans to start flights to Western Europe, North America, South Korea, Japan and Australia,” Kansakar said. NAC used to operate to 12 international destinations, which has now come down to six. On domestic sector, NAC has seven twin otters in the inventory, out of which a maximum of three are in operation.

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