The proposal of worth rupees 5 billion equity investment to buy six Viking Air DHC6-400 Twin Otter aircraft has been lodged to the government by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
Managing director of NAC, Sugat Ratna Kansakar said that they have projected to procure six Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft. He added in order to breakthrough NAC’s paid-up capital to assist its retreading financial policy; they have appealed for the first installment of NRS 20 billion with the government.
Though the proposal has not been approved by the NAC board of directors, it has been forwarded to the Finance Ministry. The aircraft is presumed to cost $7 million each.
Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari told Parliament that NAC would annex six Twin Otter aircraft within the next six months. And to supply the required number of pilots for the aircraft the corporation has called for bids from pilot recruiting companies on a contract basis.
The national flag carrier requires 21 captains to fly the Twin Otters. The captains will be asked to sign contracts of one to five years. The corporation has recently planned to purchase six Twin Otter aircraft with an objective to expand services at remote areas.
The Twin Otter made its first appearance in Nepal in 1971 on the substitution of DC-3 Dakota, the workhorse of the then Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation. The sturdy Twin Otter was instrumental in opening up Nepal’s mountainous hinterlands, and provided a significant transportation lifeline to remote communities.
The de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL utility aircraft manufactured by de Havilland Canada and is currently produced by Viking Air.
With the sharp demand in remote areas NAC has already added six China-made aircraft to its fleet. The national flag carrier’s domestic fleet includes nine planes along with three vintage Twin Otter.
Kansakar has already affirmed that the manufacturer will deliver the aircraft within seven months if the government sanctions the project.