By Our Reporter
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) general manager Sugatratna Kangsakar and his team are currently on a junket to France. It is said that they are visiting France to acquire first hand information on the manufacturing of the wide-body aircraft that NAC is buying from the Airbus company.
The Airbus company is assembling two wide-body aircrafts for High-fly Air, but there is no guarantee that NAC is going to receive the two aircrafts ordered by High-fly Air, as NAC had called tender with the conditions that the aircrafts should have been flown for minimum 1000 hours and should have been manufactured after 2014. If brand new aircrafts are imported, NAC will be violating basic criteria of the tender that the airline had itself called.
NAC, to avoid a direct deal, would mean total transparency and to purchase the two aircraft by avoiding free competition with the aim of rewarding those brokers who are ready to share hefty amounts of the commission with the Nepali officials, such a condition was included in the tender by the NAC management.
Some controversial deals:
On 7 April, 2017, the aircraft purchase deal mentioned that the airframe base price of each aircraft would be 92 million 26 thousand 8 hundred US dollars.
Later, in another agreement with Northern Rose Fulbright, which was established later with the aim of sharing commission, the price of each aircraft was mentioned in the range of 104.8 to 109 million US dollars.
NAC has already sent one million US dollars as commitment money to the account of AAR International Inc and 79 million dollars as first installment for purchase of the aircrafts to the account of the Northern Rose Fulbright company
NAC has planned to send 80 million dollars in June and 80 million dollars in July. In this way, in total, NAC has planned to pay 160 million dollars instead of the previous commitments for receiving each aircraft from 104 to 109 million dollars.
In the NAC agreements with the suppliers, it has been mentioned about the airframe base price, but there is no mention about the engine price and also the engine manufacturing date. This has invited the possibility of use of old or weak engines in the aircrafts. Although the engines, specifying from its fame family, capacity, quality and its standard should be mentioned, NAC has not made clear which engine it has planned to purchase. To recall, in the 772 series of aircraft, engines with 772-60; 772B-60 and 772C-60 models are used. Which engine is NAC aircraft going to use, it has not made clear. Likewise, NAC has not made clear the manufacturing date of the engines. In reputed airlines, there will be no compromise on aircraft engines. With a new aircraft, new engines should be equipped, but in many corruption dominated countries, there is the threat of use of old engines in a new aircraft.
Sometimes, prestigious airlines reject aircraft if the manufacturing company will not meet the structure order of the airlines. In such cases, rejected aircrafts can be received at cheaper price.
It cannot be said that the NAC management might be looking for such rejected aircrafts at present.
Rolls-Royce, the manufacturing company of engines of Airbus aircrafts has not received any order for manufacturing engines from any of the companies which are assigned for supplying the aircrafts to NAC.
At the time of calling the tender, NAC had demanded for the aircraft having capacity of carrying 242 m. tones of weight. Currently, NAC is receiving aircrafts having the capacity to carry 230 m. tones only.
Due to the lesser weight carrying capacity, the wide-body aircraft cannot make direct flights to long distance destinations such as Sydney, Seoul, Tokyo, the United States and even the European countries.
Therefore, the two wide body aircrafts will fly to the present destinations only, where the narrow-body aircrafts are flying.