Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) will be conducting a proving flight of its new Airbus A330 on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector on Monday, 25 days after taking delivery of the aircraft, the first wide-body in its fleet.
The proving flight is a process to show the civil aviation regulator that the aircraft will be able to perform to Airbus specifications. The proving flight will test everything from fuel consumption, air flow in the cabin and meal service to baggage loading.
“After a successful proving flight, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) will grant the air operator’s certificate (AOC) to the airline to allow it to use the aircraft for commercial service,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. The proving flight is the last stage in the process of obtaining an AOC.
Although NAC is scheduled to put the new jet into commercial service by August 1 on the Kathmandu-Dubai sector, Kansakar said that they would begin services on existing routes like Delhi and Bangkok if the process of obtaining the AOC is completed in time.
The Airbus A330 named Annapurna, fresh off the assembly line and bearing NAC livery, landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on June 28.
Meanwhile, TIA officials said that it would be difficult for NAC to get a daytime slot as there are many airlines applying for slots at the congested airport. However, Kansakar said that TIA should accord priority to the national flag carrier.
In April last year, NAC signed the final purchase agreement for two Airbus A330-200 long-range jets from US-based AAR Corp.
The $209.6-million contract is the largest-ever jet purchase deal in Nepal’s aviation history. The two A330-200s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, will feature a two-class cabin configuration that will seat a total of 274 passengers—18 in business class and 256 in economy class.
South Korean team to assess Nepal’s flag carrier
KATHMANDU: A South Korean team will be visiting Nepal soon to conduct a safety assessment of Nepal Airlines as it plans to operate on the Kathmandu-Seoul sector. According to Managing Director Kansakar, the date for the inspection team is yet to be fixed. “The team is arriving in Nepal to conduct a safety assessment and check the status of the country’s sole international airport.” Last December, the Civil Aviation Ministry designated three international long-haul routes—Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia—for NAC to serve after it receives its two wide-body aircraft. The national flag carrier has been designated four weekly flights on the Kathmandu-Seoul sector. NAC considers South Korea as another important country due to increased Nepali traffic movement. Nepal and South Korea signed an ASA in September 2004.
Second Airbus arrives Thursday
KATHMANDU: NAC’s second Airbus A330 is expected to touch down at Tribhuvan International Airport on Thursday morning, company officials said. Managing Director Kansakar said that jet named Makalu with the registration mark 9N-ALZ would be put on commercial service on September 1.