National carrier Nepal Airlines will shortly take delivery of its two final Y12E aircraft after securing qualified flight crew. The airline has secured three senior pilots, seven co-pilots and an instructor pilot for the Chinese aircraft. A technical team will shortly be dispatched to China to inspect the aircraft ahead of their arrival in Nepal.
The Nepali carrier signed an agreement with AVIC International Leasing in 2013 which saw the Chinese firm donate one MA-60 and one Y12E on condition that Nepal Airlines take three more Y12Es and one more MA-60 using Rs3.72bn ($35.4mn) soft loan from China’s Exim Bank. Nepal Airlines has slowly taken delivery of the promised aircraft, but has complained of their unsuitability for Himalayan terrain.
In June, Nepal delayed delivery of the two remaining Y12Es as it only had one qualified pilot for the type.
Once the aircraft are received, they will be deployed along domestic routes which had previously been suspended due to a lack of aircraft.
“Demand for air seats in the domestic sector has grown several-fold due to the poor state of national highways. So it is a bad idea to keep the planes parked in China,” said Nepal Airlines managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar.
The carrier also hopes to soon add two A330-200 aircraft, procured by Hi Fly (5K, Lisbon) for a total $209.6mn. The new aircraft will join Nepal Airline’s current fleet of two A320-200s, one B757-200, three DHC-6s, and two MA-60/-600s.
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