KATHMANDU, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's national flag carrier that has remained with only one aircraft at the moment is all set to receive the first China made air carrier on April 28, officials confirmed.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) received a 'delivery date' from the Chinese authority a week ago as per which the northern neighbor will first deliver one 58-seater Modern Ark 60 (MA60) on April 28 and will dispatch other five airplanes by the end of October this year.
"As per the letter we received from the Chinese government, we will have all aircraft from China within this year," Ram Hari Sharma, NAC spokesperson told Xinhua on Tuesday.
The NAC has been procuring and purchasing six aircraft made in China. The agreement in this regard was signed between the two countries on December 28, last year, according to which Nepal will acquire two aircraft -- 19-seater Harbin Y12E and 58-seater Modern Ark 60 (MA60) -- on grant and three Harbin Y12E and a MA60 on concessional loan.
"We will bring the first Chinese plane into operation within the first week of May as we have no aircraft currently to operate in local destinations," added Sharma. NAC currently possesses only one air carrier, Boeing 757, to make international flights. The only twin otter operated by the government-owned aviation company has remained grounded for last two weeks after developing problem in its engine, while the company lost its decades-old twin otter in the crash on February 16, killing all 18 on board.
Officials said as per the delivery date confirmed and dispatched by the Chinese authority, Nepal will receive the second air craft, a 19-seater Harbin Y12E on June 30 and another MA60 on September 30.
"The Chinese side has confirmed to deliver all remaining three Harbin Y12E on October 28 this year," NAC chief Madan Kharel said.
He also said NAC has begun preparations to ensure sound operation this time with plans to make direct flights to all destinations across the country. All of the China-made aircraft will be used for domestic flights connecting a number of destinations, including Biratnagar, Pokhara, Bhairawaha, Bhadrapur, Dhangadi and Nepalgunj, directly from Kathmandu after one and a half decade of halting the operation in these destinations.
This is the first time that NAC has been purchasing any new aircraft since it bought a twin otter in 1984.