Nepal Airlines (RA, Kathmandu) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the year-long wet lease of two narrowbody aircraft starting in July 2024, as previously disclosed by Executive Chairman Ubaraj Adhikari in an interview with ch-aviation.

The state-owned carrier is requesting aircraft of any type and age, seating at least 150 passengers in economy class, with facilities to serve hot meals. The aircraft will be based out of Kathmandu, operating international flights to Kuala Lumpur International (daily), Bengaluru International, Hong Kong International, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, and Doha Hamad International (3x weekly each). The airline requires the aircraft to operate all of these routes non-stop in return guaranteeing a minimum utilisation of 310 block hours a month. But, based on the predicted schedule, the airline estimates the actual average monthly utilisation will be almost 364 hours.

Nepal Airlines did not disclose its budget for the wet lease in the tender, but local media reported that the airline expected to pay around USD3,000 per block hour. GoAir and JAL - Japan Airlines were engaged as potential operators before launching the tender.

The one-year contract will be subject to extension. Bids are due by March 22, 2024. Only carriers with a valid AOC, which are certified either by the FAA or the EASA, or hold Third Country Operator status in the European Union, are allowed to bid. Prospective lessors must have had experience with at least one previous scheduled passenger ACMI contract.

The ch-aviation fleets module shows that Nepal Airlines' in-house narrowbody fleet comprises two A320-200s, although one of the pair, 9N-AKX (msn 6555), was ferried to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion for maintenance in mid-January 2024, having been parked since late November 2023. The airline also operates two A330-200s and two DHC-6-300s. The carrier is negotiating the acquisition of three additional STOL aircraft to replace the ill-fated MA-60s and Y12s, which the carrier is still trying to sell.