Annapurna gets green light for commercial operations

Jul 30, 2018-The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) on Sunday allowed Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to use its newly-acquired Airbus A330 aircraft named Annapurna for commercial purposes, 32 days after taking delivery of the aircraft, the first wide-body in its fleet.

“We have issued the air operator’s certificate (AOC) for the new aircraft on Sunday evening after the carrier fulfilled all the mandatory provisions. Now it can fly for commercial purposes,” said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of Caan. “As the A330 is totally a new aircraft on the national flag carrier fleet, it has to complete a fresh process to obtain the AOC,” he said. However, for the second A330 aircraft, the process will not be as long, he said.

Caan had hired flight operations inspector of A330 from Sri Lanka.

Airlines have to complete a stringent five-stage certification process—pre-application, formal application, document evaluation, inspection and demonstration, and the certification—to obtain the AOC.

Last Monday, NAC conducted a proving flight of its new Airbus A330 on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector—the fourth phase of certification process which is known as inspection and demonstration. The proving flight is a process to show the civil aviation regulator that the aircraft will be able to perform to Airbus specifications. The proving flight tests everything from fuel consumption, air flow in the cabin and meal service to baggage loading.

The certification is the fifth and final phase and is an integral part of the process that signifies the airline has met all requirements as laid down by the regulator. “We have not intensely delayed the process for issuing AOC. It’s a mandatory provision that all airlines have to follow,” said Pokhrel.

Air Operator Certificate Regulation 2012 allows the regulator to issue an AOC for new airlines only after the operator acquires an aircraft. Before that, Caan will only issue new airlines a no-objection certificate (NOC).

In the old regulation, new airlines were required to purchase aircraft within six months after acquiring the AOC.

NAC is scheduled to put the new jet into commercial service by August 1 on the Kathmandu-Dubai sector. The Airbus A330 named Annapurna, fresh off the assembly line and bearing NAC livery, landed at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on June 28.

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