A ‘white paper’ released by Nepal Airlines, the nation’s national carrier has painted a worrisome picture – the corporation is on the verge of bankruptcy. Requesting the government to bail them out, Nepal Airlines have said their financial troubles began with the acquisition of the two Airbus A330s a few months ago, and their inability to operate the aircraft to its full capacity.
The corporation had ambitious plans to add new destinations with the acquisition, however are not being able to follow through owing to several reasons. Currently, Nepal Airlines flies to Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Mumbai and Bangalore. The A330 flies to Delhi, Doha, Bangalore and Hong Kong. In the month of Bhadra, seat factor to these destinations were KTM – DEL (56%), DEL – KTM (66%), KTM – BLR (52%), BLR – KTM (44%), KTM – DOH (51%), DOH – KTM (61%) and KTM – HKG (40%) and HKG – KTM (33%). The numbers are bleak. In the month prior, the first month of operation of both the jets, the numbers weren’t that bad – with Doha being occupied above 90%.
Loan repayment of the wide-bodied aircraft is causing a severe cash crunch for the corporation. Unless the jets are fully utilised – higher seat factor and addition of new destinations, the corporation could be facing a bankruptcy. Prior to the purchase of the wide-bodied aircraft, the corporation was making a profit of NRS 12.5 million per month.