Pilot shortage becoming a major problem for airlines in Nepal


Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is taking the delivery of two new wide body Airbus A330 in coming months which will require total of 32 pilot and co-pilots to operate the flights and there is no enough Nepali manpower for that. As per the information, the corporation is bringing 10 foreign pilots for the monthly salary of a maximum of Rs. 20 lakhs.

Managing Director of NAC Mr.Sugat Ratna Kansakar told that after negotiating, the corporation will give salary as per the salary rate of other 26 international airlines which operate in Nepal and the salary ranges from 16-20 thousand US dollar otherwise the corporation will face problem to fly the aircraft. There are total 34 pilots along with 3 foreign pilots to operate Airbus A320 of the corporation and is paying 12 lakh salary to those foreign pilots and up to 7 lakh to Nepali pilots.

Along with NAC, other domestic airlines are also facing problems of pilots. Private airline Buddha Air has recently sent 8 Nepalese students in their own expenses to US for study with condition of having to work in the company after they return back. The private carrier of the nation said that 8 students are sent with guarantee to US and other 8 are also going in coming months.

Buddha Air had also sent 30 science students in three phases who have passed +2 in science faculty to US to take pilot course 6 years back when there was lack of pilots in the country. As the airlines is planning for new domestic and international flight routes, it has been sending students to US to study under the airlines recommendation.

As Buddha Air, NAC is also preparing to send Nepali students to training under their expenses. When corporation had announced vacancy of 30 junior pilots, 28 only applied among which 18 only passed the written and only 12 were hired after oral tests. But when the corporation announced vacancy of 152 for administration, 42 thousands applied showing lack of technical manpower in the country.

Pilot shortage is problem for every new airline that opens in the country. New airlines Shree had also announced vacancy for the pilots and around 1 dozen pilots applied who were working in other airlines as Shree provided attractive salary. After that Tara, Yeti and Saurya airlines went against those pilots in court of which the issue has not yet been completed.

According to Flight Safety Standards, currently there are 33 rotor aircraft of all helicopter and airlines company and there are 367 pilots who have license to operate those aircraft which is very low says operators. Himalayan airlines have also recruited 26 foreign pilots to operate their A320 series aircraft to continue their service.

NAC has started preparation of bringing 3 Chinese Pilots to operate the newly brought Harbin Y12-e aircraft which haven’t made its maiden flight due to lack of pilots. Out of 11 Helicopter Company, 9 companies are fully committed to foreign pilots except Shree and Manang. There are 11 foreign and 43 Nepali helicopter pilots. According to one helicopter pilot, there is shortage of helicopter pilots in Helicopter Company rather than other commercial airlines as it will be hard to operate in tourism season and foreign pilots must be brought. There is no second generation pilot in Nepal as courses are available only in foreign countries like US, Philippines, South Africa etc. which require expenditure of 80 lakh to 1 crore rupees.


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