Nepal Airlines may acquire China-built aircraft

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Nepal Airlines is looking to acquire up to 10 China-built aircraft to meet its fleet expansion and replacement plans.

The Kathmandu-based carrier is considering buying five Xian Aircraft MA60s and Harbin Aircraft Y-12s each, said an airline spokesman.

The aircraft will be deployed on domestic and regional routes, and the Harbin Y-12 could replace the Twin Otters that the airline is using, he added.

Both aircraft models were offered by the Chinese government to Nepal in a deal between the two governments. Nepal Airlines will finance the aircraft through grants and soft loans from China.

The aircraft, however, has yet to be certified by Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority.

The airline has sent a technical team to China to evaluate the aircraft so that certification tests can be conducted, said the spokesman.

The Xian Aircraft MA60 is a 60-seater aircraft built by Xian Aircraft Corporation and the Harbin Y-12 is a 17-seater aircraft built by Harbin Aircraft Corporation.

Nepal Airlines operates a fleet of two Boeing 757-200s and four de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters.