The Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) greeted the arrival of its new state-of-the-art Airbus A320 on February 8 with much euphoria and expectations.
But, unfortunately, just over a month later, the national flag career is faltering in a morass of controversy vis-a-vis the same aircraft.
Its inaugural flight, slated for February 25 on the Kathmandu-New Delhi route, had been cancelled in a humiliating fashion even it took off on February 17.
And the reason for such unwarranted cancellation was the non-installation of the navigation and airport database on the new plane required for it to fly to the Delhi airport.
Managing Director Madan Kharel was compelled to resign after he solely had to bear the brunt of blame for the inaugural flight debacle. Of course, Kharel, as managing director, must be accountable for his flaws when it comes to the shameful debacle of the inaugural flight.
But, shocking enough, his resignation alludes to how he has fallen prey to the crafty practices going on at the NAC.
It was mainly because of the pressure of politically appointed Executive Chairman of the NAC board Shiva Sharan Neupane that Kharel was forced to quit.
Neupane was appointed as chairman in 2014 on the basis of his close nexus with CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal not by virtue of his professional merits.
The very appointment was denounced because the blatant political interference had severely crippled the NAC in the past. But, sadly, once again sneaky political interest prevailed upon the basic values of meritocracy with Neupane creeping into the NAC to grab his current chair.be
Kharel, on the other hand, got the position of managing director in 2012 via free competition, a practice applied by the government to ensure meritocratic system in the national flag carrier. He is widely hailed for exhibiting the professional acumen which ran counter to the menace of political meddling ruining the NAC.
Kharel also devised a ten-year business plan (2015-2024) with an aim to revitalise the ailing Corporation.
Such plan primarily intends to enable the NAC to again fly to those international destinations it lost after 1990 due to its pathetic underperformance triggered by debilitating political interference.
Under his stewardship, the NAC acquired two Airbus A320s for international routes and six Chinese-made aircraft for the domestic fleet after 27 years.
No doubt, Neupane deliberately showed non-cooperative attitude towards Kharel and his plan, thus prompting the latter to resign.
Such foxy stratagem that reeks of political interference definitely does not bode well for the organisation.
Until and unless the NAC is totally freed from the tyranny of crooked people, it cannot be expected to make any progress.