Nepal Airlines will suspend all its international flights for about two weeks from 18 December because it only has one international aircraft ready to fly and this aircraft has to go in for a heavy maintenance check.
A spokesman in Kathmandu for the Nepalese flag carrier says that until 2 January the airline will have no international passenger flights.
The carrier has two Boeing 757s but one of the aircraft has an engine in need of repair and the other aircraft is about to be flown to Brunei to under-go a ‘C-check’, says the spokesman. Nepal Airlines uses Royal Brunei Airlines for maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Once the second aircraft arrives in Brunei the plan is to transfer one of its engines to the other aircraft, which will then be flown back to Nepal to resume international operations, says the spokesman.
He adds, Nepal Airlines tried unsuccessfully to get a temporary lease on a third 757.
Having its two international aircraft temporarily grounded means the airline has to temporarily suspend all its international flights, namely flights to: Bangkok, China Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the spokesman.
The carrier also has fleet of seven de Havilland Canada Twin Otters but these are only used for domestic services and only four or five are in working order, says the spokesman.
“At one time we were looking to add some Fokker 70s but now we have dropped that idea,” he adds.
Nepal Airlines’ maintenance woes has been a boon for foreign carriers that have been adding services to Kathmandu this year in an effort to fill the void and capitalise on the recovery of Nepal’s tourism industry.