Nepalese helicopter companies are facing a scare of pilot to operate helicopters in the mountain climbing season.
30 helicopters of 10 helicopter companies, registered in Nepal are busy in the Khumbu area.
According to the Helicopter Society of Nepal (HSoN), most of the flights are operated from Lukla to Kalapatthar, Goraksep, Ferichey, Fhakdin, and Sagarmatha base camp.
Yog Raj Kandel, General Secretary of HSoN stated that maximum 176 flights and minimum 90 helicopters are operated daily.
Nepalese Helicopter companies are facing pilot shortage.
20 foreign pilots have been hired to operate 30 helicopters this year. Apart from foreigner pilots, 36 Nepalese pilots are operating helicopter flights.
Most foreign pilots are working in a three-month agreement, “said Kandel, who is also the CEO of Heli Everest. According to him, one foreign pilot earns up to NRs 2.5 million in a season.
According to the rules of Nepal, one pilot can fly for 7 hours or 25 to 35 takeoffs and landings a day and cannot fly more than 100 hours in a month. In the other hand, there is no specified hour for the helicopter.
“The helicopters can fly the whole day after engineer examines it every early morning,” said Ishwori Poudel, operator of Kailash Air, “the machine can be used when it is capable except the time of engine cooling.”
Since the flight frequency is high during the mountain climbing season the helicopter companies increase their number of pilots.
According to the HSoN, helicopter companies owing 2 choppers have kept up to 5 pilots.
Nepalese Helicopter Companies have fixed the freight on the basis of the routes.
One of the companies said that we have taken at least 2 lakhs to 10 lakhs. According to him, helicopter companies charge up to 10 lakhs for the rescue flights from the second camp in Sagarmatha to Lukla.
The government prohibited the helicopters not to land at Sagarmatha Base Camp. Likewise, Annapurna Gaunpalika (village development authority) restricted helicopter takeoff and landings at the Annapurna Conservation Area after it increased the threat to the wildlife. Helicopter operation at the conservation site threatens wildlife with the excessive sound and vibrations produced thus, compelling to create a flee situation for animals.
After the May month, the mountain climbing season will be finished and the helicopter flights will fall down accordingly.
According to HSoN, a helicopter flight will increase again during the festive season.