KATHMANDU: Nepal Airlines has decided to issue an auction notice for its remaining Boeing 757 as its board has approved in principle the proposal to retire the vintage jet.
The state-owned carrier also plans to auction off the Boeing’s spare parts as it will now have an all-Airbus fleet. The national flag carrier said that it had set the minimum sale price at $7.8 million for the 31-year-old Boeing named Gandaki with registration number 9N-ACB and its spare parts.
The jet is valued at $5.4 million out of the total sale price, the carrier said.
The Boeing 757 joined the fleet of the then Royal Nepal Airlines in September 1988. This special Combi model is capable of seating passengers and carrying two pallets of cargo. According to Nepal Airlines, the Gandaki’s frame is the only pure 757 Combi built by Boeing.
“An expert committee has been formed to auction the Boeing. The auction notice will be issued on Friday,” said Madan Kharel, executive chairman of Nepal Airlines. “It’s a long process. We have to give 45 days for potential buyers to submit their bids.”
In November 2016, it picked Fintech of Geneva, Switzerland to make an evaluation of the aircraft. The carrier sold its first 757 named Karnali to Bhawan Bhatta, managing director of BB Airways, for $1.46 million in December 2017.
Nepal Airlines entered the jet age in 1972 by acquiring a Boeing 727. People would rush to their roof-tops to watch in awe as the sleek craft came in screaming from beyond the hills. Carrying 123 passengers, it connected Kathmandu with regional destinations and remained in service till 1993.
The first Boeing 757 named Karnali and bearing registration number 9N-ACA, arrived in 1987. Gandaki was delivered the following year. The 757 holds 190 passengers. It is a mid-sized, narrow body twin-engine jet built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was in production from 1981 to 2004.
Nepal Airlines decided to sell off its two 757s as it was no longer profitable to fly them due to their high maintenance costs compared to the revenue they bring in, airline officials said.