7 aircraft belonging to the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) are currently grounded at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). 1 Boeing 757, 4 Harbin Y-12e, 1 MA60 and 1 Twin Otter DHC-6-300 are grounded incurring losses to the corporation.
Boeing 757 ‘9N-ACB’ was operating 3 weekly flights each to Malaysia and Delhi but now the flight frequency has been decreased as other aircraft are compensating. Out of 4 Chinese manufactured Harbin Y-12e, one is grounded for more than a year whereas 3 others are also grounded since couple of month ago. Likewise, 1 MA60 and 1 Twin Otter are also staying idle at the airport.
The Boeing 757 was dispatched to Malaysia for maintenance on 28th October, 2018. The aircraft while returning to Kathmandu on 16th January 2019 encountered defect in its windshield however, made a safe landing. The engineering team fixed the issue but the aircraft remained grounded following the expiration of Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) Certificate of the 757 pilots.
Due to the delay in renewal of PPC Certificate of Captains, the B757 is still grounded at the NAC’s hangar. The national flag carrier is not sending pilots to China for the renewal of PPC and is paying more than 2 lakhs monthly to pilots without flight operation. There is a standard practice of renewing PPC Certificate twice a year.
Nepal Airlines hasn’t initiated any processes for dispatching pilots to the training institute for PPC, reports the airline pilots. As per source, NAC has terminated all the PPC of all 757 pilots.
The officials from NAC informed that the process of sending pilots to training was delayed due to dilemma in operating or completely halting B757 operation.
On the other hand, all four Chinese Harbin Y-12e are grounded. One Y-12e is grounded since a year ago whereas remaining 3 since last 42 days. As per the source, NAC’s decision to send Pilot Uddhab Ghimire for A320 training has grounded all Y-12e aircraft as other pilots asked for sick leave after not being selected for A320 training.
The PPC of Y-12e Instructor Pilot Ang Noori Sherpa hasn’t been renewed so, the Chinese manufactured aircraft are inoperative.
Another Chinese manufactured Xian MA60 is also grounded due to technical glitch. NAC owns 2 MA60 aircraft and one of them is not in the favorable position to be maintained.
Likewise, one Twin Otter DHC-6-300 out of 3 is also grounded as it requires complete maintenance and overhaul.