Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the national flag carrier has not been able to fly its brand new Chinese-made planes due to lack of qualified pilots since they arrived in February.
The Carrier had planned to bring Chinese pilot to operate Harbin Y-12e aircraft due to lack of capable pilot in Nepal but the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) quashed the Chinese Pilots. NAC was seeking for Sri Lankan Pilots at the last moment to fly Harbin Y12E however, the attempt for hiring the Sri Lankan pilots has also come at end in disappointment for the carrier.
Mr. Rabindra Shrestha, Spokesperson for NAC stated that the Sri Lankan Air force pilots that we were seeking from Sri Lanka didn’t meet the requirement of the CAA Nepal, the sole aviation regulatory body.
Earlier, the carrier following the instruction of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Mr. Rabindra Adhikari had stepped forward hiring three Chinese Pilots but unfortunately those crews’ only hold the Commercial Pilot License (CPL). The new requirement of CAA Nepal requires a pilot with frozen ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) and valid CPL (Commercial Pilot License) to fly a multi-engine aircraft while he/she joins an airline in Nepal. To obtain the ATPL, a pilot has to complete 1,500 flying hours besides receiving necessary training.
Since the procurement of the Chinese Aircrafts Harbin Y12e, the carrier had produced three captains and an instructor pilot to fly the Y12e aircraft in the last three years. Though, out of the four pilots, one had resigned the job, another one has taken leave and the remaining one has not updated his flying license. Due to the lack of pilots it had created a troublesome to the carrier fading to use the optimum capacity of those aircrafts. The annual report of the Office of the Auditor General shows that the carrier had been operating the Chinese-made MA60 aircraft incurring losses of Rs66.7 million annually, while its losses from the Y12e amount to Rs39.4 million annually.