Nepalese Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari (L) and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong attend the handover ceremony at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal received two Y-12e planes as part of six-aircraft deal between Nepal and China. (Xinhua/Sunil Sharma)
The national flag carrier of Nepal, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), on Tuesday formally received two new aircraft from a Chinese manufacturer.
With addition of two 17-seater Y-12e planes on its fleet, NAC has completed taking the delivery of all six Chinese-made planes as part of a deal between Nepal and China.
At a ceremony held at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the Chinese supplier - AVIC International Holding, handed over the planes to NAC officials with the presence of Nepali Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong.
Addressing the event, Adhikari said that the addition of the Chinese aircraft will contribute to the economic development of the Himalayan country.
"These aircrafts are the symbol of cooperation between Nepal and China. I am confident that with these planes, Nepal Airlines Corporation will be able to serve the demand of general public and contribute in national economy," he said.
The minister said that the received aircraft will be in operation within 100 days; however, he sought support from the Chinese supplier regarding operation, maintenance and spare parts.
"Air transportation is vital for the mountainous country like Nepal. I am sure that the Chinese aircrafts can work as an alternative to connect all provinces of the country with each other," he added.
NAC had signed a commercial agreement with AVIC International Aero-Development to procure six aircraft - two 56-seater MA60 and four 17-seater Y-12e in November 2012.
Nepal acquired the six Chinese aircraft, two in grants and four in loans, while now the NAC has majority of its planes made in China.
Addressing the function, the Chinese ambassador expressed hope that the Chinese aircraft will promote the development of civil aviation and tourism sector of Nepal.
The state-owned NAC is of view that the Chinese planes will not only enhance reliability of its flights schedule, but also help increase its domestic market share significantly.