President Bidhya Devi Bhandari chartering NAC’s aircraft for China visit

Honorable President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari is embarking on a week-long state visit to China by chartering the aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) from April 24, 2019 at the invitation of Xi Jinping, President of China.

This is the first time NAC aircraft will be used for charter flight to China. Earlier, President went to Delhi and Bangkok in commercial flights, one of the corporation officials stated. The corporation has decided to operate Airbus A320 for VVIP flight.

Previously, Honorable Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli flew in Airbus A320 of Himalaya Airlines for India and China visit. According to high source, Ministry of Home Affairs has made an agreement to pay nearly $11,600 per hour. It has been confirmed to operate narrow body aircraft of NAC, said source.

Similarly, it is mentioned that NAC doesn’t need to pay parking charge. The corporation will charge only 12 hours of cost in three days charter flights. It is said that NAC will manage all landing, parking and fuel expenses. According to the internal criteria of NAC, three pilots are mandatory in this flight.

In VVIP flights, there should be one instructor pilot (IP) and two senior captains. President Bhandari is being accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Chief Minister of State-3, Dormani Paudel, members of Federal Parliament, high-ranking government officials, Ambassador of Nepal to China, representatives of private sector and media persons.

The Foreign Ministry has informed NAC that the VVIP flight will be carrying President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali along with 70 to 80 other officials. The team will be first flown to Xian and then to Beijing by the Nepal Airlines’ A320 aircraft. The national flag carrier of Nepal doesn’t operate flights to China but it will be operating charter flight this time. It will take almost 4 hours to reach Xian and additional 2 hours to reach Beijing.

At present, Tibet Airlines is operating Xian-Kathmandu flights. The VVIP flight is expected to depart at 11 am on 11th Baisakh from Kathmandu. NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) will be issued at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) during the flight time. Other flights will resume after 30 minutes from the departure of the VVIP flight. The Nepal Airlines aircraft will return empty on 13th Baisakh.

The team from Nepal will visit Lhasa after completion of Beijing tour. During the return flight, the team will be carried by A319 aircraft as NAC’s A320 is not appropriate for the Lhasa-Kathmandu route due to high altitude location. The national flag carrier has reported that there won’t be much disturbance with the one aircraft being deployed for charter flights.

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