Nepal Airlines reducing its fleet removing the ageing Boeing
KATHMANDU, 13 JULY 2016
National flag carrier Nepal Airlines is in the final preparations of moving out its two old American made Boeing 757 aircraft. The two aircraft have been serving Nepal Airlines for 29 years after ‘Karnali’ with registration 9N-ACA, the first one was introduced in Nepal in 1987. High maintenance cost and no profitable operations caused NAC to implement the decision for phasing out the Boeing airplane.
As 9N-ACA was received as first Boeing for Nepali sky, the same plane will be the first one to be removed from the fleet after it will complete 29 years of service in coming August. NAC board has already agreed to allow management to send off one of the aircraft already. The Boeing jet is a narrow body twin jet engine that flew to long haul destinations of Nepal Airlines.
According to a spokesperson Ram Hari Shrama from the airline, after the agreement of board, the management will soon prepare an aircraft valuation report that will be then accessed by the board to provide the final approval for the sale of the aircraft.
Each of NAC’s Boeing earns about Rs 2 billion annually, amount equivalent to the maintenance expenses. “NAC has no operating gains. It has been surviving with the income generated from its ground handling services at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA),” said a retired NAC official.
The phase-out program of NAC’s Boeing aircraft is a positive step, but there should be a suitable replacement plan, he said. “In fact, the phase-out plan has come quite late.”
The older version of Boeing aircraft consumes a very high amount of fuel which makes the operation very expensive in comparison to newer version of engines.
NAC had also prepared a file of a 10 year business plan under which one of the two 757 would be removed out by 2015 and the other one by 2019 which was not approved by Tourism Ministry.
Nepal Airlines significantly increased its travelers’ rate after the recent addition of 2 new Airbus A320 aircraft. The occupancy increased up to 22.87 percentages and 47,000 more passengers in record compared to previous year.
NAC Airbus and Boeing aircraft presently serve seven international destinations, including three Indian cities, and is planning to expand operations to three more destinations of Guangzhou, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, in the near future.
Just a decade ago, NAC as one of the top Middle East Asian airliner used to fly to 21 international destinations. But its international network has shrunk rapidly since then resulting rot in the company caused by mismanagement and unnecessary political interference.