All the planes are old and we can't buy new ones right now. The engineers must be corrupt, else how could they not have known that the aircraft were not in working condition? Meanwhile, after the planes were grounded, tickets were still being sold. All this is under investigation.
How is NAC doing?
During the panchayat, democracy, and the royal regime, the corporation was sucked dry. Everyone from prime ministers and ministers to corporation bosses and employees misused the corporation. We should be ashamed, especially now since all its international flights are cancelled.
How was NAC misused?
An unnecessary new company was set up to siphon way money. The Lauda scandal drove NAC to bankruptcy.
Is it true that of late NAC has made a lot of money?
After the April Uprising, more tourists started coming in and we changed a few internal policies. The Rs 1 billion profit we earned during this period was used to pay back loans. We've seen positive results with just minor policy changes. If there had been stringent rules before, NAC would be flying to 70 international destinations by now and our hangers would have been full of new aircraft. Thai started the same year, and now owns over 100 planes. And if foreign airlines can attract tourists to Nepal, so can we.
Why is the government unwilling to bring in desperately needed new aircraft?
The purchase of new planes has always been controversial. NAC insiders are now scared of being accused of corruption. I am new, I work for the people, so I am not scared. The process of buying new planes will begin when applications come in. National pride is attached to the national carrier, and we must stop it from sinking.
Will the government stand as guarantor during the purchase?
It has to! We are working towards NAC eventually being a public-private partnership enterprise. The government would own 50 percent, the private sector 40 percent, and the public and employees the remaining 10 percent.