HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) will not resume flights to Dubai until it receives new aircraft. “We will not resume flights to Dubai until we have sufficient aircraft,” said director of commercial department of NAC Madan Kharel.
The corporation has, however, planned to resume operations to Delhi from January 2013. “We want to resume flights to Delhi from January 16, however, we are not in a condition to resume flights to Dubai with only two aircraft,” said Kharel.
Instead of Dubai, NAC had set its new destination as Dammam where it will have
a monopoly and be able to create a huge market. “We had earlier planned to make Dammam our new destination but since we don’t have sufficient number of aircraft we had to postpone the plan,” he said.
Nepal had signed an Air Service Agreement in 1999 for operating flights to Dammam but the Nepali government failed to ratify the agreement through a diplomatic note of exchange through the foreign ministry. “The ministry is currently in the process of ratifying the agreement for the operation of direct flights of NAC to Dammam,” said Kharel.
According to NAC, Dammam as a destination will provide the corporation a lot of opportunities and advantages, as NAC flights for Dammam will be direct flights. However, NAC is still not confident about resuming flights to Delhi.
“Delhi is one of our top destinations
but we are not confident about flight efficiency,” Kharel said. “We have only two aircraft and we might face a similar problem related to flight timing due to which we had to withhold our Delhi flights a few months back,” Kharel said.
According to Kharel, the corporation
will face tough competition for flights to Delhi, and with the high fares and limited resource there are chances of flights being cancelled or delayed.
In 50 years of operations, it was for the second time that NAC suspended its flights to Delhi citing insufficient operating costs. In 2008, NAC had for the very first time suspended flights to Delhi for about a month. Suspension of the Kathmandu-Delhi flights was the only alternative to minimise operating cost of about Rs three million.
According to NAC officials, before the flights were officially withheld, the total passenger load in the Delhi route had dropped to about 40 per cent.