Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is mulling over phasing out its two aged Boeing 757-200 aircraft in a bid to cut down additional expenses brought on by increased fuel consumption, necessary maintenance and spare parts of the jets. As per plan of national flag carrier, it will auction the planes by inviting a global tender.
Before doing so, NAC will buy two wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft to replace the Boeings so that its service to international destinations is not disrupted. NAC officials said that as the aircraft were bought almost three decades ago, they are neither fuel-efficient nor economical as the maintenance charge and the price of spare parts are both higher.
“We will replace the two Boeings with two A330s. The Boeings are being operated almost at a loss to Nepal Airlines,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC.
He added that the decision to dispose the old planes had been taken as it had become infeasible to continue operating the loss-making aircraft. The two Boeings, each having a capacity to accommodate 190 passengers, were bought in 1987 and 1988. The planes had then gradually replaced the country’s first jet — Boeing 727.
A study has concluded that the Boeing 757s consume 30 per cent more fuel per passenger in Kathmandu-Bangkok sector compared to Airbus A320-200. Earlier, Office of the Auditor General (OAG) had also expressed concern over the rise in NAC’s fuel expenses. A field inspection by OAG officials had also found that NAC aircraft consumed 3.8 tonnes of fuel in Kathmandu-Bangkok and Kathmandu-Hong Kong sectors per hour against the standard 3.61 tonnes.
In the last fiscal, NAC spent a total of Rs 2.88 billion for aviation fuel and the two Boeings flew for a total of 5,738 hours. In a bid to get rid of the old Boeings, the national flag carrier is mulling over auctioning the planes and the huge stock of spare parts separately in three packages. Kansakar said though the planes are old, there are high chances of cargo airlines being interested.
If things go according to plan, as part of its fleet expansion plan, NAC will buy two new wide-body A330 aircraft within 18 months and replace the two Boeings. In this regard, the Corporation’s 12 different divisions will start working on their line of actions to buy the wide-body aircraft and operate them. Similarly, the management consultant to be hired by NAC will also assist and advise on the fleet expansion plan.