National flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has planned to end its operation with the old Twin-Otter aircraft as the corporation is preparing to add 4 new Viking DHC-6-400 Twin Otter within period of two years. NAC has been flying twin-otters for last 4 decades.
NAC is preparing to replace decades old Twin Otter DHC-6-300 with four new Viking Twin Otter DHC-6-400 aircraft for domestic flights for which the necessary preparation is going on. The corporation brought the Twin-Otter aircraft for first time in 2028 BS since then it has been using it for domestic service especially in STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) areas.
The corporation is purchasing four 19-seater airplanes from the Canadian company known as Viking, at a cost of Rs. 700 million each. The total cost for 4 aircraft is estimated between Rs.2.8 arab to Rs3.2 arab. NAC is mainly trying to increase services in the remote airports in the high hilly regions for which the addition of such STOL aircraft is eminent.
The flag carrier is adding new planes to its fleet to provide continuous service in high hilly regions like Lukla, Manang, Jomsom, etc. as many places in Nepal where the roadway takes 5, 6 days to reach Kathmandu. The Corporation will provide service in these areas in a non-profit-oriented way.
Currently, NAC has 3 twin-otters out of which only 1 is in operation while the rest 2 are grounded in TIA. Both planes can be used after the maintenance.
The Series 400 Twin Otter picks up where the original de Havilland Series 300 Twin Otter left off, introducing upgraded Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engines fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex digital avionics suite, internal and external LED lighting, and approximately 800 other modifications incorporated to improve upon the original production model.
The Series 400 Twin otter is feasible for country like Nepal because it retains the ability to operate economically, safely and reliably from remote and unimproved airfields due to its robust design, equalized maintenance program and dependability of the Pratt &Whitney engines.