Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twin Otter landing gear units missing: Nepal Airlines Corporation

KATHMANDU, Nov 13: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the ailing national flag carrier which has been reporting a series of thefts of aircraft spare parts, has now announced that two of its Twin Otter landing gear units have gone missing since a month ago.

The equipment, which is a must accessory for aircraft landing and take-off, was taken to London-based AEM Limited for a complete overhaul in September. Documents show that the overhauled gear was received in mid-October.

"However, we could not find the repaired landing gear when we went to collect it at the cargo complex a month ago," NAC officials said. NAC paid US $ 140,000 for the overhaul.

NAC said the equipment was delivered to Nepal via Thai Airways cargo. "The cargo was cleared through customs and hence should have been in the cargo complex. But when we went to collect it, it was not there," said the NAC source.

The cargo complex at Tribhuvan International Airport is managed by Nepal Transit Warehouse Company (NTWC). Ranjan Krishna Aryal, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA), said they would cross-check documents for possible release of the landing gear from the cargo complex before confirming that the equipment was really missing.

NAC officials said they are preparing to hold a meeting with NTWC officials to clarify the disappearance of the landing gear.

Meanwhile, Yogendra Mahato, executive director of NTWC, said that their security was too intense for the consignment to go missing from the complex. "There is no chance of landing gear getting lost if they were received at the cargo complex," he told Republica.

However, this is not the first time NAC has reported disappearance of aircraft parts.

Just on Tuesday, NAC reported the disappearance of two spare tires of one of its Boeings. The cost of the tires was put at US$ 7,000.

Similarly, some eight months ago, it had disclosed the theft of the ´fly-away kit´ of the other Boeing. The kit costing around Rs 45 million is still missing.

A sub-committee formed then to probe the theft had concluded that the kit was ´lost´ because of carelessness by the engineering department at NAC. Based on its findings, NAC had suspended three engineers, charging them with possible involvement.

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