Hiring foreign pilots could incur high operational expenses for NAC

The national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) with the rising shortage of cockpit crew will be offering huge packages to persuade foreign pilots as it risks of its new plane being grounded. The corporation has been adding new planes however the required number of crews for the operation is insufficient.

The corporation may offer monthly pay packages of $18,000 for a foreign captain and $12,000 for co-pilot to fly its newly introduced wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, said NAC Managing Director Sugat Ratna Kansakar. The paying amount is supposed to be three times more than what is being offered to its existing flying crew.

Kansakar said that it’s a temporary hiring until generating own pilots. NAC is seeking at least five dozens global pilots with global pilot supplying agencies.

He added that there are no any other options besides doing so since the domestic market lacks pilots. He further told that Nepali pilots flying planes in foreign countries would also be offered the same pay package.

Though NAC has 116 pilots currently, there is still shortage of 28 pilots, said Kansakar. He also affirmed that defalcation may surge up as the corporation has planned to add at least 10 planes—two A320neo, six Twin Otter and two medium sized aircraft to serve domestic trunk route sector.

At the mean time NAC is presently hiring three foreign captains with the payment of $15,000 per month to fly its A320 jets.

The corporation has recently received its first Airbus A330 jet and second one is expected to arrive after a month, hence in-order to operate them smoothly it needs to recruit 12 captains and 12 co-pilots for which 24 pilots will be hired from foreign countries, said the Managing Director.

The corporation said it would require 8 captains to fly four Chinese-made Y-12e planes. And other remaining 21 pilots will be required only if the corporation’s plan to procure six Twin Otter planes will be disseminated.

The corporation has also unveiled its plan to separate its domestic and international operations. Kansakar said the corporation is going to split the operation into two entities for the effective administration, since it has been been receiving a lot of complaints regarding this topic from all sides.

NAC with nine aircraft in its domestic fleet has not been able to increase its passenger market share. It holds around 3 percent of the market share in the domestic sector currently.

After adding two A330 jets, NAC will focus on penetrating key tourist generating markets like Japan, Korea, and Australia said Kansakar. Similarly, NAC has aimed to connect Nepal with key Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, and Myanmar, after the addition of two A320neo jets by 2019.

Meanwhile, after selling one of its two ageing Boeing 757s, the corporation has planned to eliminate its second 757 by next year. Besides that, it has also unveiled a plan to phase out its forty-year-old Twin Otter. With the expectations of NAC to go into full automation by the next fiscal year, Kansakar vowed to have all new planes in their fleet by the next two years.

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