(Nepal Foreign Affairs, Dec. 7)–Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Ananda Prasad Pokharel has said that Nepal Airlines Corporation can’t roll back its decision to purchase four aircrafts from China on the loan assistance of the Chinese EXIM Bank.
The minister also made it clear that the government has already paid 70% loan of the EXIM Bank for purchasing the four aircrafts in line with the MoU signed between the two governments in 2013.
Earlier in 2014, China provided 18-seater Y-12 and 56-seater MA 60 aircraft to the NAC in grant. The government will purchase one MA 60 and three Y 12 aircrafts from China for the national flag carrier. The Chinese government had agreed to provide USD 34 million loan assistance to Nepal to purchase those aircrafts.
“We must purchase the four aircrafts from China in line with agreement with the Chinese government while the Sushil Koirala-led government already made final preparations to import these aircrafts. Now the government can’t roll back from the erstwhile decisions, “the minister said adding, “This government will receive the Chinese aircrafts since the erstwhile government already completed procedures to purchase the aircrafts.”
The Chinese government offered the concessional loan to the Nepali government in 1.5 percent of interest rate while purchasing these aircrafts. Earlier, Y 12 and MA 60 aircrafts were received by the Nepal government on grant assistance without completing the technical capacity and standard tests. Following the technical tests, the Chinese government has given a report to the Nepalese government. According to sources, Chinese government has given an improving report to the Nepali government regarding the technical capacities and standards of the aircrafts.
“So now we are open to receive the new aircrafts since the Chinese authorities have submitted an improving report with regards to the capacity and technicalities of the aircrafts,” the sources said.
The minister also said that he has yet to go through the report submitted by the Chinese government. “Now I am talking to the Chinese side regarding complaints about Chinese aircrafts regarding their performance. I am also talking to the Chinese side regarding whether the Nepal Airlines had to bear any losses in course of operating the Chinese aircrafts in Nepal which were received in the grant,” Minister Pokharel said.
Minister Pokharel also went on to say that the Chinese side has also assured to the Nepal government to improve the capacity of the to-be-purchased four Chinese carriers while making corrections with regards to weaknesses seen in the previous aircrafts received in the grant form.
The new Chinese aircrafts were expected to arrive in Nepal some one year ago as soon as after receiving the two aircrafts in the grant. However, the Nepal government seems still not confident whether the new aircrafts to be received from China will not face the similar fate in near future.
The Nepali Airlines Corporation concluded that it couldn’t gain benefit from the aircrafts received from China, the Chinese aircrafts failed to fly the passengers as per their capacity, the Chinese aircrafts were not in right condition and the aircrafts faced technical weaknesses while flying in the sky. While the NAC also blamed that the Chinese side didn’t provide essential parts for repairing the aircrafts in the past. The NAC also said that the insurance amount was relatively higher and the Chinese side failed to send instructor pilots. The NAC has suggested the government not to bring new aircrafts from China owing to weaknesses seen in the previous aircrafts.
Earlier, a committee formed under the leadership of Triratna Manandhar, who was the then Director General of the Nepal Airlines, had submitted a report to the Nepal government suggesting that a performance study for the Chinese aircrafts was essential in all domestic airports.