Irregularities to the tune of Rs 160 million have been detected in the leasing of a Boeing 767 from Lauda Air for 18 months. Political figures, businessmen, government employees and higher officials of RNAC are all party to this deal.
According to RNAC sources, Lauda Air will be providing a 12-year-old jet, at the rate of $3,500 per flying hour on a 'wet lease'. This was done without calling for any tenders. Taking other "hidden costs" into consideration, the cost of leasing the jet is actually going to shoot up to $3,900 per flying hour.
According to the agreement signed, a minimum of five sets of Austrian pilots are going to be hired and this will mean an additional expenditure of $350 per flying hour. In addition to this RNAC will have to provide these pilots board and lodging at a four-star hotel.
RNAC had earlier leased a Boeing 757 from China South-West Airlines and in that agreement all costs-the cost of leasing and hiring pilots-were bundled together. In the present agreement with Lauda Air, these two have been presented separately. Additionally, the cost of spares, landing and takeoff fees, ground services and other expenditure are not mentioned in the agreement, indicating that RNAC will probably be paying for all these. This is going to increase the lease cost drastically.
It is reported that certain people are going to earn a commission of up to $400 per flying hour. For a period of 18 months this works out to Rs 160 million. Of the $400 per hour, half is expected to go to a political fund, $100 to the Lauda Air agent in Nepal and some businessmen, $50 to high officials in RNAC and the remaining $50 to middlemen who helped clinch the deal.