Bal Bahadur KC is the minister for Civil Aviation. A couple of days ago, he called all the high-ranking officials of the Royal Nepal Airline Corporation to his office and threatened them: "All seven RNAC Twin Otters should start operating before Dasain. If this does not happen, I am going to take action against the concerned heads of the department. This is a warning," he said. The engineers, pilots and other staff of the organisation thought that the minister was talking business. Four small aircraft of RNAC are nearly always grounded because of technical reasons. But the RNAC department chiefs were shocked by the minister's utterances. They had reason to be scared. Five years ago, when KC was just a member of parliament, he beat up an RNAC department chief for a minor reason. The chiefs still remember that.
Minister KC's outbursts are not just limited to the RNAC. Some days ago, KC and eight other MPs showed up at the airport. He asked the authorities which aircraft was available. Someone told him the Skyline craft had not flights. He called a Skyline officials and asked that his team and he be flown immediately to Lukla. The official spoke to his director, the director could not refuse the minister and the plane flew to Lukla. The minister then asked the pilot to wait in Lukla for a few hours, after that the plane flew again with the minister and his entourage, this time for Phaplu. The pilot was then told to return to Kathmandu, but had to fly back to Phaplu the next day to pick up the minister and his cronies.
That caused all Skyline flights to be cancelled for two days. According to a Skyline official, the company is already in the red and that particular day's activities certainly did not help. The minister is also known for bullying helicopter companies too. Last week, he took a helicopter belonging to a private company and flew with 22 people to Mansarovar. He paid nothing for this trip. A government directive says that cargo-carrying helicopters are not allowed to carry people-but who will tell the minister ? On his way back from Mansarovar, KC stopped at Humla, inaugurated a tourist project there, gave a speech concerning development and then flew to Pokhara. His father had accompanied him on the Mansarovar trip.