Kathmandu, July 1
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Posta Bahadur Bogati has said that the government had forwarded the process of purchasing new aircraft for the national flag carrier in a transparent manner.
Inaugurating the 54th anniversary of the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) in the Capital on Sunday, Minister Bogati urged one and all to extend necessary support for the purchase new aircraft and take the national carrier to a new height.
Showing his concern over the growing politicisation within the NAC, Bogati said that the politicisation had hit the aircraft acquisition plan.
"The NAC will not get aircraft unless the employees change their attitudes. They must dedicate themselves to strengthening the corporation," he said.
He urged the staffers and the management to review their past weaknesses and work together for enhancing the national carrier. "Instead of blaming the government or the ministry for the delay in the purchase of new aircraft, the employees should work sincerely," he said.
Stating that the existing Public Procurement Act has become an obstacle to the purchase of aircraft, he said that the ministry would amend the law.
He stressed the need to upgrade the airline’s services through making internal reforms.
He pledged that the ministry was ready to extend all sorts of support for strengthening the corporation.
Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that the ministry was in the process of purchasing the new aircraft for the NAC through transparent procedures.
"The airline has both strengths and weaknesses. We need to go ahead by correcting the past mistakes," said Dr. Joshi
He urged the staffers and the management to play crucial role in achieving the airline’s objectives.
He said that the management would work on enhancing the corporation’s service efficiency and expanding its services to destinations.
As the government is positive towards buying new aircraft, we need to able to face the challenges emerging in its process, he said.
Calling NAC a sick industry, Manarup Shahi, Executive Chairman of the corporation, said that the management was fully dedicated to consolidating the national carrier.
"Since NAC cannot live without aircraft, the government should help the management purchase them at the earliest possible," he said.
He further said that they saw some rays of hope for the improvement of the national carrier as the government had accorded top priority to the purchase of aircraft.
Leaders of the various employees’ unions at NAC urged the government to purchase the new aircraft for the sustainability of the national flag carrier.
Chitralekha Mishra, chairperson of the Cabin Crew Association Nepal, suggested that the government should allow the national carrier to revise airfare as the private airlines.
She also urged the government to stay guarantee for the NAC to purchase new aircraft.
"The government often provides loans to the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) although the latter has suffered a loss. The NAC has more assets than that of the NOC. But why does the government not offer this facility to the national carrier," she questioned.
At present, the NAC covers just around 7 per cent of the country’s Rs. 80 billion annual aviation business. Due to the lack of aircraft in sufficient numbers, the NAC has failed to increase its business volume despite having a huge potential.