02/19/2014, 00.00
NEPAL
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Nepal's national airliner left with one plane after too many crashes

by Christopher Sharma
Fatal accidents and other troubles, including safety issues, have left the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) with a single plane. "We do not have the money to buy a new aircraft, or manufacture a new one," company spokesman says.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal's national airline, the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), is left with only one plane, forcing it to cancel more than half of its domestic flights. A series of accidents - some fatal - and other troubles have left the company in its current predicament.

Over the past 40 years, NAC lost 14 of its 23 Twin Otter planes causing the death of about 120 passengers.

The other aircrafts had to be grounded either because they had engine trouble or because they did not meet safety standards.

Until last week, the company still had two planes, but one, the 9N-ABB, was involved in Sunday's crash on the Pokhara-Jumla route, crashing in Khachikot (Arghakhanchi District).

The plane was found the next day completely destroyed. Everyone on board, including three crewmembers, were dead.

Kiran Man Shrestha, NAC president in Nepalgunj, said that flights to Jumla, Dolpa, Rukum, Bajura and Mugu would be reduced.

"We have no other options but cut routes because we can rely on only aircraft," he explained.

"We know well the problems that people may have," Company spokesman Ramchari Sharma said, "but at the moment we cannot help them. We do not have the money to buy a new aircraft, or manufacture a new one right away."

At present, the NAC is planning to buy planes from China, Nepal's main trading partner.

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