NAC to auction Boeing 757, asking price $1.7 million

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has set a minimum sale price of $1.7 million for its vintage Boeing 757 which is being auctioned, multiple sources have confirmed.

A proposal to sell the 30-year-old Karnali, bearing registration number 9N-ACA, has been tabled at the NAC board for its approval. An American company has done the appraisal.

The 9N-ACA arrived in Nepal in 1987 and flew on long-haul routes, displaying the national flag at world airports. The 757 holds 190 passengers and is of the ‘combi’ variety with a forward cargo hatch.

The Boeing 757 is a mid-sized, narrow-body twin-engine jet built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was in production from 1981 to 2004.

“The board will ‘probably’ clear the way for the management to auction the jet next week,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NAC. “After we receive the go-ahead, a global auction notice will be issued.” The second Boeing 757 will be phased out by next year.

NAC moved to sell off its two 757s as it is no longer profitable to fly them due to their high maintenance costs compared to the revenue they bring in. The move is also part of the national flag carrier’s plan to have an all-Airbus fleet for its international operations.

Each of NAC’s Boeings earns about Rs2 billion annually, and it costs the carrier almost the same in maintenance expenses, according to the carrier.

The plane’s high fuel consumption is another matter of concern for the state-owned airline. According to officials, the Boeing 757 guzzles 4 tonnes of fuel per hour compared to 2.5 tonnes for new aircraft.

Some retired senior NAC officials said that it was a wise move to retire the vintage Boeings as they are fully depreciated. The planes can be used for cargo flights. “Besides, NAC has a matching replacement plan as it is procuring two wide-body jets by 2018.”

NAC recently announced that it would be launching four new long-haul routes besides resuming its London service after acquiring two wide-body jets in 2018.

The national flag carrier plans to connect Kathmandu with Seoul in South Korea, Tokyo in Japan, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Sydney in Australia. It has also announced increasing flight frequencies to key destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Doha.

Nepal Airlines has taken the top spot in international passenger carriage for the first time in years, flying 275,701 travellers during the first nine months of 2016.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the national flag carrier bumped Qatar Airways down to second place with a massive 74.63 percent growth in passenger carriage.

Nepal Airlines began flying high after inducting two new Airbus A320 aircraft into its fleet in 2015.

It resumed flights to Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi soon after acquiring the new jets, and now serves eight international destinations. The carrier has been able to boost its market share on international routes to 11 percent.ek