PICS: ASHUTOSH TIWARI
Old planes that were once a part of Nepal's aviation history lie scattered, scavenged, cannibalised, picked clean for spare parts.
Of the 10 abandoned planes in this aviation junkyard is the veteran of the Nepal skies: "Alpha Uniform" one of the very first Hawker Siddeley 748 manufactured in 1969 and acquired by Royal Nepal Airlines.
It's a story of how far we have regressed in Nepal that the then head of Royal Nepal Airlines is said to have got the manufacturer in 1970 to cut the price by 15 per cent by getting Hawker Siddeley to agree to minus the sales commission. Alpha Uniform with its sister ship, "Alpha Victor" served RNAC well, flying international routes to Delhi and domestic destinations as well as the popular Mt Everest sightseeing flights for more than 25 years.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) seems to be aware that the plane junkyard is unsightly and is offering them up for auction to scrap dealers. Some of the private airlines still owe CAAN millions in unpaid fees, but they may have to be written off. Only Yeti Airlines has agreed to remove its SAAB 42.
The reason scrap dealers are not interested is because whatever they bid for, the airline will first have to clear its dues to CAAN. Cosmic Air alone owes the airport Rs 20 million. Shrestha says the planes will be removed if there are no bids and the space leased to private airlines which need hangar space.
No fly zone