KATHMANDU (Xinhua): China-made air carrier, 58- seater Modern Ark 60 (MA60) that landed in Nepal on Sunday has successfully conducted its first test flight from Kathmandu airport to Bhairawaha on Tuesday, officials said.
Nepal’s Aviation Minister Bhim Acharya, Aviation Secretary Sushil Ghimire, Chief of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Madan Kharel, other high level government officials, high level representatives from Embassy of China to Nepal, Chinese delegates and journalists among other enjoyed the 45 minutes long test flight.
The Rara aircraft (the China made MA6 has been named Rara, a name after Nepal’s largest and popular lake) took off at around 10: 00 a.m. local time from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and landed at Bhairawaha Airport at around 10:45 a.m. The test flight was conducted by two American pilots who had operated the plane from China to Kathmandu.
“The plane came back and landed at TIA at 3 p.m. (local time),” NAC spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma told Xinhua by phone, “we are really pleased that the Chinese plane has successfully completed its first test flight.”
NAC, under whose possession the made in China aircraft has now come, said it will spend around a week in orienting its pilots, other crew members and technicians about the plane both on and off flight under the instruction of expert pilots and technicians.
The government on Monday had formally handed over the MA60 aircraft to NAC.
“The plane will formally come to its commercial operation from May 15 and will serve the domestic destinations including Bhairawaha, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar and Dhangadi in the first phase and the destinations will gradually be increased,” added Sharma.
The NAC has also on Tuesday introduced promotional fares — almost 25 percent less than what Nepal’s private airlines are charging — on major trunk routes. The promotional fares that will last for at least a month is expected to heat up competition in the Himalayan country’s domestic aviation.
Meanwhile, during a reception program hosted by Chinese Embassy to Nepal, Ambassador Wu Chuntai on Monday termed the entry of China made MA60 to Nepal “a marriage between China and Nepal” and stressed on the need of its lasting bondage.
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