HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Airbus will sign the purchase agreement for two narrow-body aircraft within this week. NAC has already released $500‚000 as commitment fee for the new aircraft and is now prepared for the purchase agreement.
The Employment Provident Fund (EPF) has also agreed to lend Rs 10 billion to the corporation for the purchase of two narrow-body aircraft to expand its international fleet.
EPF has agreed to provide the loan at 12 per cent interest though NAC had asked for a minimum interest rate of around 10 per cent.
NAC and EPF have signed the loan agreement with a payback period of 15 years after NAC starts operating its new fleet. “We have completed all the necessary procedures and are ready for the agreement which will happen within this week‚” said spokesperson at NAC Ganesh Bahadur Chand.
NAC needed $150 million to purchase the new aircraft for which it had made a loan agreement with EPF for a purchase loan. It had released the commitment fee according to the agreement signed with Airbus on April 5.
According to the agreement‚ the two aircraft will be delivered by 2015. NAC and Airbus‚ the European aircraft manufacturer‚ had signed a revised memorandum of understanding (MoU) for two narrow-body aircraft — A320-200.
In the revised deal‚ Airbus has mentioned that it will charge the manufacturing escalation charge though the base price will remain the same as it was in the 2009 agreement. The Cabinet had directed the ailing NAC to revive the agreement on February 13. In the first MoU‚ signed in November 2009‚ the corporation had planned to purchase one wide-body and another single aisle aircraft.
In 2009‚ NAC had plans to start international services to Japan and Europe through direct flights. However‚ the plan did not materialise due to various issues. With the additional aircraft‚ NAC will be able to operate additional regional flights‚ stated the corporation.