Saurya’s Jet grounded for 10 days
02 July, 2016, Jhapa – Saurya Airlines, the only carrier of Nepal operating a Jet Aircraft for domestic flights was grounded in Chandragadi Airport, Jhapa for 10 long days. The Bombardier made CRJ 200 series aircraft with registration 9N-ALE is being operated as the only one aircraft by the airline. This modern art and highly advanced jet engine aircraft suffered a technical flaw and had to remain grounded for the maintenance in Chandragadi Airport.
The pilots who were going to command the aircraft from Jhapa to Kathmandu were Capt. Prajwol Adhikar and F/O Rajesh Kumar Gupta. The pilots failed to start the engines of the aircraft. They suspected a possible malfunction of the APU and tried to start with the aid of an external GPU but the engines still failed to start, according to the officials from the airport. An APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) provides the required bleed air and electrical power to start a jet engine and an external GPU connection (Ground Power Unit) is an external source of electric power to start the engines of an aircraft. After this failure of starting procedure, the aircraft remained on the ramp from June 12 and waited for the maintenance schedule from the airline.
In response, the airline quickly arranged a maintenance schedule for the grounded aircraft and set up an unit of aircraft maintenance team from their head office at Kathmandu. The team of engineers led by Bhola Maskey and other two engineers Keshari Nandan Sahai and Sanjeev Kumar of Indian nationality arrived at the Chandragadi Airport and started inspection of the grounded aircraft. Primarily the inspection detected a problem with the APU of the aircraft as suspected by the pilots. They initiated the work for repairing of the defunct APU. After the repairing of 3 days only the engineers could conclude that the whole unit of APU had to be replaced from the aircraft.
A new APU unit was ordered for the aircraft from USA and it arrived at the facility for the installation. The import of the APU took around a week to arrive and costed around NRs. 20 Million including all the applicable VAT and TAX to the airline. After the successful installation and repairing, the aircraft was finally able to take off from Chandragadi Airport on June 22 after 10 days of being on ground. The airline pays NRs. 5000 landing permission charge and parking fare for 24 hours and NRs. 2000 landing permission charge and parking fare for an hour. This is a charge and fare applicable to all the airlines landing on an airport.
As Saurya Airlines is operating with a fleet of only one aircraft, this incident resulted a halt in operation of the airline for 10 days. Flight schedules were cancelled and the passengers had to fly with other domestic airlines to their destination. Saurya Airlines operates its CRJ aircraft with highly experienced commanders Capt. Kul Bahadur Limbu and Capt. Kumar Prasad Pokhrel with 30 years of flying experience each and Capt. Prajwal Adhikari with 15 years of flying experience. The first officers flying the aircraft are Manish Ratna Shakya, Janak Adhikari and Rajesh Kumar Gupta. Saurya’s Type C rated CRJ aircraft requires 2800 feet of minimum visibility to be able to take off from Chandragadi Airport, as per Gunaraj Bhurtel, station incharge at Saurya airliness, Bhadrapur.