KATHMANDU, Nepal- The programme is same and same is the venue. Also the participants except some new faces are all same. But the environment is different. The feelings of participants in the programme are different. And this is all because of a single decision.
Until last year, the anniversary celebration of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) used to be a gloomy affair. Employees used to hurl blames at the management for its failure in expanding fleet of the national flag carrier.
But it seems that the decision to purchase two brand new Airbus A320-200 aircraft has injected optimism into NAC employees and management alike.
Dikpal Subedi, administrative officer at the NAC told Nepal Mountain Focus of Montagna.TV that the new aircraft would help the corporation and the staffs to prove their loyalty towards it’s future. “The new aircrafts to join the NAC fleet and others to be brought in the near future would help us to regain our lost glory,” Subedi said.
Expressing joy over the decision to bring new aircrafts, Narayandevi Manandhar, another officer at the corporation shared, the delay to purchase the aircraft had morally forced the staffs whether to continue their jobs. “But the decision has removed all dilemma making all staffers happy,” she said.
Due to losing grace no one has applied for the vacant post of captain in the advertisement of the NAC recently though the corporation published the vacancy in national dailies for three times with one months time for the application each time. “At last only four applicants approached for the job after the vacancy notice published for the third time,” a source at the NAC told.
Speaking on the 55th anniversary of NAC here on Monday, Senior Pilot Krishna Bikram Chhetri also said the decision to acquire two new aircraft had lifted their spirits. “We are feeling proud and excited at the thought of flying to Europe again,” he added.
NAC presently has a fleet of two Boeing 757s and a few Twin Otters. But only one Boeing 757 is presently in service as the other is undergoing maintenance. Similarly, it has only one Twin Otter in operation in the domestic sector.
Along with two Airbus A320-200s, NAC is in the process of buying six aircraft for domestic operation from China.
Speaking on the occasion, leaders of NAC employees´ trade unions welcomed the decision to procure new aircraft. They also emphasized the need to enhance management so as to take optimum benefits from fleet expansion.
Referring to the aircraft procurement process, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha, said NAC employees have one last chance to restore the glory of the national flag carrier. “It´s a do or die situation. If we failed to bring about improvements in NAC now, nothing can save it from dying,” said Shrestha.
He said it was with great difficulty that the tourism ministry managed to convince the government and the Employees´ Provident Fund to lend Rs 10 billion to NAC for fleet expansion.
“If NAC is to survive in this competitive market, it should have at least 6-8 aircraft for international operation,” Shrestha said, suggesting the NAC to initiate a process to purchase two wide-body aircraft after the two A320-200s join its fleet.
Tourism secretary Sushil Ghimire said the government was mulling over forming a separate committee for proper management of the national flag carrier. “We also have plans to lease two wide-body planes for NAC in the next three years,” added Ghimire.