Namaste Nepalese Air (NNA) has received the go ahead from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to operate flights on different domestic routes.
CAAN awarded Air Operator´s Certificate (AOC) to the carrier after completing its due technical evaluation, operating condition and business plan, among others.
With this, the number of airlines holding valid AOC to operate fixed wing aircraft has reached 18. However, only 10 of them are presently in business.
According to a senior official at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the airline has permission to operate flights to Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Bhadrapur, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi, Pokhara and Tumlingtar from its base in Bhairahawa.
“As per the Aviation Policy, we cannot give Kathmandu as a base station to new airlines because of its surface and air density,” the official added.
Promoted by a group of investors led by Pokhara-based entrepreneur Raju KC, NNA is preparing to acquire one 48-seater ATR-42 and two 72-seater ATR-72s to commence flights.
The official said NNA was preparing to purchase aircraft under lease agreement.
Along with NNA, CAAN officials said two other domestic carriers — Blue Airways and Swift – are also making preparations to start commercial operations soon.
Going by the existing rule, the airlines company must get a license from Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) before obtaining AOC from CAAN. The licensing condition seeks the airlines to start operation within two years of receiving the license.
Domestic carriers must have a minimum paid-up capital of Rs 150 million. They also need to show a bank guarantee of Rs 2 million to obtain the license. Similarly, they should pay non-refundable royalty amount worth Rs 30,000 per trunk route on annual basis while obtaining the license.
If the company fails to start operations within two years of getting the license, the government scraps its license and seizes the bank guarantee.