Govt looking for loan and business partner for NAC: Finance Minister Khatiwada


Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada has said the government is looking for loan to operate the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
Answering questions about the Tourism Ministry raised in the House of Representatives (HoR) on behalf of the prime minister (PM) on Tuesday, Khatiwada said the government is looking for loan and business partner.
Nepali Congress (NC) lawmaker Sanjay Gautam termed the national flag carrier a white elephant and asked about the government’s preparations about that. Lawmaker from the ruling CPN Ram Kumari Jhakri commented that the NAC’s management is substandard, it does not have any business plan and is devoid of destinations to fly to. “There are reports that it cannot even pay the installments to service debt. What has the government thought?” she asked.
NC lawmaker Divya Mani Rajbhandari stated that the NAC has been shredded.
Responding to the queries of lawmakers, Khatiwada said the government is also concerned about the NAC. “There is no alternative to opting for long international routes,” Khatiwada stated. “The process has moved a bit about flying to Osaka and Tokyo of Japan, and a few Chinese destinations. Agreement for a few long routes and a few medium ones are moving forward.”
Pointing that the government has provided guarantee on behalf of the NAC, he revealed that the loan has been rescheduled for payment of interest for some time. “We should capitalize the NAC and move forward by looking for some opportunities for loan and business partnership in the future if possible,” he opined.
He added that the government is preparing to divide responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to remove Nepali aviation sector from the blacklist of European Union.
He stated that the government will study about the demand for an international airport in each province. “We have talked about three international airports in one province. We will study about the gap in nautical miles between international and domestic airports, what to do in the plains and hills, and whether we can go to each province,” he elaborated.
He said an international airport cannot sustain without 50 daily flights.
He stated that the government is preparing strategy for aviation infrastructure and assured that a few airports will be upgraded to South Asian standard. “We will decide whether to build airport in each district or move forward on the basis of business potential. Runways will be expanded and airports upgraded on the basis of that standard.”

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