Nepal Airlines is the only longest serving airline of Nepal is celebrating its 62 anniversary on 1 July. Nepal government owned airlines has its vivid history and challenges but it’s yet to have to take many course to retain many years giving service to Nepali citizen. It seems the airlines have yet not able to fully run in a professional manner. Therefore, having a long history, it still has to prove its capacity and dedication in public good. Then we can only benefit from its service. I congratulate and wish a good luck for the coming future to Nepal Airlines On the occasion of 62 anniversary.
The early days of airlines
Formerly known as Royal Nepal Airlines was established in 1 July 1958 with Douglas DC-3 as the first aircraft. At the beginning it operated flight to Simara, Pokhara, Biratnagar and different place of India. The airlines were operated with 97 staffs at the beginning. In 1970, the airlines invited expert from Air France to manage the corporation. Then in 1987, it added its first Boeing 757. With the help of this aircraft, it expanded its international flights to Hong Kong, Dubai, Frankfurt, London etc. Later in 1989 with 2200 staffs, Nepal Airlines was the country’s largest employer and largest earner of foreign currency. In the same year, it had the revenue of $54.3 million with $17 million profit.
Addition of new aircraft
In April 2014, China gifted two aircraft. At the same time, Nepal purchased three aircraft from China making in total 10 aircraft which used to fly domestically and internationally. In 2015 it bought two Airbus 320-200 from Hamburg. Both the aircraft were painted in the company’s new livery. Two years ago, two Airbus 330-200 were added with the help of Hi Fly and AAR cooperation for $209.6 million, the largest ever aircraft purchase deal in Nepal’s aviation history. Although, Nepal was trying hard to give services across the world, but European Union didn’t allow to fly our planes in their sky since 2013. The EU should also help Nepal to make the our airlines for making a better.
Banned from EU and unknown future plans
The European Union and the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) blacklisted Nepal-based airlines including Nepal Airlines after a safety audit following a series of crashes, including a private airlines crash near Kathmandu airport in 2012 that killed 19 people, including seven British. With the motive to remove from the EU blacklist, Nepal Airlines is currently implementing the 10 year plan from 2014 which will last till 2024. The plan states that airlines will add 4 wide body and 5 narrow body aircraft which will help to increase passengers and expand the destination including Australia, Europe, US and various place within Asia. Despite the investment in purchasing of wide body and improving the service in flights, there is not yet know the plans how the ban is lifted.
More Partnership needed
In today’s world, one can do nothing. The success only depends on partnership and collaboration. Therefore, the airlines now should open every ways of partnership with big airlines. In the past, there were few initiations taken but they were put on hold. For example: In 2018, Lufthansa Consulting of Germany, showed interest to become a strategic management partner with Nepal Airlines. Due to high amount asked by Lufthansa Consulting, the project was kept on hold. Similarly, In November 2018, it was reported that Nepal Airlines was considering Ethiopian Airlines as a strategic partner ahead of a planned reorganization but due to financial crisis it was also cancelled. Therefore, there is a strong need to think strategically with a vision for doing more partnership with renowned international airlines.
Set a clear milestone
At the present, there are 13 aircraft in the fleet including 4 international aircraft and 7 domestic aircraft. It contains 36 destinations with 10 internationals and 26 domestics. As the airline is the top international serving airline in Nepal its facility is being improvised day by day. Nepal Airlines should negotiate with EU for the removal of the ban. Airlines should add new domestic aircraft and promote more safety regulation. The more we invest the more it can raise, however the management and its staff all should be honest that can only set an enabling environment contributing to the national economy. Most importantly, it should get a fair chance to run in its own way without the influence of partly politics. The anniversary should be marked with this thought.
(Data sources: Nepali Times, The Himalayan Times articles, The Kathmandu Post articles, Aviation Nepal and 62 anniversary report, The Rising Nepal)