November 7: Cash-strapped Nepal Airlines Corporation has announced to operate flights to three new international destinations within the next four months.
The state-owned airline company, which has come under fire for under-utilization of two newly procured wide-body aircraft, said it will operate flights to Japan’s Narita, Saudi Arabia’s Riyad and China’s Guangzhou by February this year.
Speaking at a press conference organized by NAC on Wednesday, Chairman Madan Kharel said that the flag carrier of Nepal will start operating flights to the new destinations as soon as the concerned bodies given them the permission.
However, NAC is not likely to start flights to these destinations so soon, as claimed by the airline company. The airline company had earlier announced that it would operate flights to Narita and Guangzhou by December this year.
China’s Safety Audit team must first monitor Nepal’s aviation sector and then approve the flights. The team is arriving in Kathmandu in December.
Meanwhile, the process of appointing General Sales Agent (GSA) for Riyad flights has reached the final stage. The process to initiate flight operation will begin only after finalizing the GSA.
NAC has also announced it has started process to begin flights to seven other destinations including Beijing, Shanghai, Dhaka, Yangon, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Colombo.
During the press conference, NAC Chairman Kharel said that the airline company has adopted a strategy to reduce operation cost and will be saving Rs 2 billion in unnecessary spending within the current fiscal year.
Areas of austerity measures include air turbine fuel (ATF), overflight, hotel, engineering, corporate, safety among others, Kharel said.
“Lots of works of the engineering department are now being carried by the local manpower. This will help us reduce our operational cost,” said Kharel.
He further said that arrangement has been made so that the aircraft will not have to carry extra fuel. He also said they are planning to change the current route to save fuel.