Nepal Airlines plans to lease Jet Airways plane

Nepal Airlines (NAC) plans to lease an aircraft from Indian airline Jet Airways, after the airline failed to repair an engine for its aircraft, which is returning after a month-long C-check in Brunei.

A high level team, including Nepal Airlines MD Gautam Das Shrestha, corporate director Raju KC and financial director Gobardan Khadka, left for Mumbai on Monday 10 September to hold discussions with officials of Jet Airways.

Sources at the Nepali airline said it planned to lease an aircraft on a wet lease for one month, but that it may later extend the lease. Jet flies mostly Boeing 737-800 aircraft. NAC regulations allow the managing director to take a decision on leasing an aircraft for up to a month.

Officials said that if the corporation goes for the aircraft, it will not be able to operate it to full capacity, as Indian civil aviation regulations bar Indian-registered aircraft from flying to and from Nepal at night. An Indian-registered aircraft must leave Nepal''s air territory 25 minutes before sunset, otherwise it has to stay at Kathmandu overnight.

Owing to the restriction, the aircraft will be able to operate flights to only a single destination in a day, said an official. The troubled corporation has only one aircraft for international flights, which remains grounded most of the time.

The other NAC aircraft will return from a C-check in Brunei towards the end of September, but will not be able to fly as one of its engines is being used by the aircraft currently in operation. Because of technical snags, the airline has cancelled many flights over the past month.